The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will soon adhere to a global system that will enable Customs authorities to have, in advance, all the details of a consignment arriving in India from abroad.
The CBEC is in talks with five countries, Russia, South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong and Brazil, to follow the Globally Networked Customs, a programme by the World Customs Organisation, which has around 180 members across the world.
The programme will be a mutual agreement between participating countries, to share information on consignments with each other.
Mumbai will benefit from the new system because the city’s ports and air cargo handle around 30,000 containers (import and export) per day, which put lots of pressure on Customs authorities.
Under this programme, the authorities will get all the details of a consignment the moment it is exported from a foreign nation. “We will have access to details mentioned in the shipping bill filed by the exporter at the time of export,” said a senior Customs official, on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media on this issue.
The official said when a consignment arrives, the importer files import declaration. “At present, we get the details of the consignment from the import declaration.” The official said once this system starts, Customs will have details of the consignment in advance. The details available will be the description of the good, its quantity, value and classification.
Customs officials said the system will be more effective in keeping track of suspicious goods or smuggling attempts. “Even a little bit of misdeclaration by the importer to get his illegal consignment cleared will be caught,” the official said.
He added that when details of the consignment arrive, authorities could, in advance, do an intelligence check of the importer. This system is already being followed in USA and some European Union nations.
CBEC spokesperson, Deepankar Aron, refused to talk on the subject saying that he would have to check the details.