F. No. 450/145/2015-Cus-IV

Government of India

Ministry of Finance

Department of Revenue

Central Board of Excise & Customs

(Single Window Project)

3rd Floor, NBCC plaza, Saket,

New Delhi, dated 15th June, 2016

All Chief Commissioners of Customs / Customs (Preventive),

All Chief Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise,

All Commissioners of Customs / Customs (Preventive),

All Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise.

Subject: Single Window Project – Referral of imported consignments to PGAs -Regd.

Madam/Sir

Kind reference is invited to Board’s Circular No. 03/2016 dated 03.02.2016 and Circular No. 10/2016 dated 15.03.2016 regarding the Indian Customs Single Window. Board has operationalised the ‘Indian Customs Single Window Project’ to facilitate trade from 01st  April 2016 at all EDI locations throughout India. As a result the importers and exporters electronically lodge their Customs clearance documents at a single point only with the Customs. The required permission, if any, from Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) such as Animal Quarantine, Plant Quarantine, Drug Controller, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Textile Committee etc. is obtained online without the importer/exporter having to separately approach these agencies. The Single Window ( SWIFT ) thus provides the importers/exporters a single point interface for clearance of import and export goods thereby reducing dwell time and cost of doing business.

2.  Under SWIFT,  upon filing of the Integrated Declaration, the bill of entry is automatically referred to concerned agency(ies). The system automatically identifies import goods that require clearance by the Participating Government Agency (PGAs). Such selection is also risk based. There are still some cases noticed where the items are referred incorrectly to PGAs or not automatically referred in some cases that deserve to be referred. To identify such cases and to rectify the problems, the Board has created a Working Group comprising representatives of PGAs and major Custom Houses.  It may be noted that Compulsory Compliance Requirements (CCRs) have not been taken off from ICES. CCRs continue to be printed as part of the Bill of Entry so that officers can identify consignments that prima facie require PGA clearance but for some reason are not being routed by the system.

3.  Presently cases that are referred by officers manually to PGA for obtaining their No Objection Certificate (NOC) are not recorded in the system, leaving no record of the PGA clearance in the system. All such cases would provide important information to the Single Window project team and the Risk Management Division in fine-tuning the automated routing process in the Single Window.

4.  This problem is being felt acutely in the case of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which has discontinued the facility on its Food Import Clearance System (FICS) to directly receive online applications for NOC. Henceforth, FSSAI would only receive data from the Integrated Declaration of Single Window via ICEGATE. FSSAI further seeks not to entertain manual requests for NOC except in rare cases.  In this context, FSSAI has recently raised the problem with the Board regarding the large number of manual references being made to their officers for issuance of NOC. Of course, Customs officers refer consignments to FSSAI manually when it is noticed that the system has failed to refer them to FSSAI online.

5.  The Single Window project team and the Risk Management Division should promptly receive information in respect of all such consignments where Customs officers have manually referred for PGA clearances.  This would help in closing gaps, if any, in the routing mechanism in the Single Window. At the same time, careful thought has to be given before referring consignments manually to PGAs. Therefore, it has been decided that for all consignments referred manually to PGAs:

(a) The Superintendent/Appraiser should record reason as to why the item is being  referred to the PGA manually and only with the approval of the concerned Assistant  Commissioner/ Deputy Commissioner forward the bill of entry manually for PGA  NOC, with the endorsement of AC/DC.

(b) The concerned Assistant Commissioner/ Deputy Commissioner should convey by  email to Commissioner (Single Window) on a weekly basis the details of all such  Bills of Entry along with reasons why they were referred to the PGA.

(c) All such cases will be discussed in the Working Group established by the Board to  streamline automated routing, and decisions taken in the Working Group will be  implemented in the System.

6. Any issue faced by field formations pertaining to above issues may kindly be referred to the undersigned.

Yours faithfully,

(S P Sahu)

Commissioner (Single Window)

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