By Kundan Jha Jan 11 2020 / Sunday Guardian Live
New Delhi: Ease of doing business dashboards of the Central government are helping individuals and firms avail faster customs clearance services. The digitised processes also provide the facility of real-time tracking of the shipment under the clearance process.
Information Technology initiatives have made possible faster clearance and real-time assistance. On November last year, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had launched two dashboards—ICEDASH and ATITHI—for improved monitoring and speed of customs clearance of imported goods and now both of the initiatives have started showing results.
According to the CBIC, ICEDASH is an “ease of doing business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard” of the Indian Customs, helping the public with real-time tracking system for customs clearance of imported cargo at various ports and airports, while the ATITHI, in particular, would give a tech-savvy image to India’s customs and encourage tourism and business in India.
Nitin Dahiya, MD of Gold Star Logistics, told The Sunday Guardian: “Many initiatives launched by the CBIC have helped in reducing the time taken in customs clearance. These new IT initiatives have also reduced physical work and have increased the IT-enabled process. Earlier, we were not able to track the customs clearance process and it use to take almost seven days to get one shipment clear, but with the implementation of ICEDASH, the processing time taken has been reduced to 2 to 3 days.”
“The introduction of IT-enabled dashboards has also reduced rampant corruption that was going on in the customs offices across the country. However, there may ports that are still not equipped with electronic dashboards and IT facilities, but in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, IT initiatives have transformed the whole import operation.”
Suman Kumar, Superintendent of Customs and Excise, told The Sunday Guardian: “The most important development that has come with ICEDASH is the reduced man-to-man interaction. It has enabled e-paperwork, as from filing paper for clearance to making GST payment and from release to paper submission, all have become online. Now, anyone sitting at home can just import and track their shipment clearance process in one click.”
“In terms of passengers’ baggage and goods clearance, the ATITHI dashboard is a brilliant IT initiative. It helps travellers get real-time information about the clearance of their baggage and goods as well. We have received thousands of feedback and based on that, I can say that this dashboard has promoted a hassle-free travel experience,” Kumar said.
Many foreigners visiting India have praised the CBIC’s initiative of providing IT-enabled dashboards. Some travellers have even taken to twitter and other social media platforms to express their feedback on the customs clearance process.