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Customs set to roll out faceless assessment of cargo soon

The Customs Department will take the Ease of Doing Business initiatives to the next level by rolling out the concept of faceless assessment of cargo across the Country over the next few months, whereby consignments will be assessed by a virtual group irrespective of where the Bill of Entry is filed, a top official has said.

A Bill of Entry is a document filed by an importer or an exporter specifying the nature, quantity and value of goods that have landed or are being shipped out.

The assessment of cargo need not be done at the same place where the Bill of Entry is filed: Commissioner of Customs (City and ICD)

“We are moving ahead with the concept of faceless assessment,” said Mr. Baswaraj Nalegave, Commissioner of Customs (City and ICD), Bangalore. “From now onwards, in a phased manner, we will ensure that the assessment of cargo need not be done at the same place where the Bill of Entry is filed,” he said at a shipping conference recently.

“Suppose, a Bill of Entry is filed in Mangaluru, and it pertains to, say, a particular fuel oil. There can be specialised Custom Houses in the Country which specialise in a specific cargo and these alone will assess that Bill no matter where it is filed,” he said.

In Chennai, it’s already being done.

“We have already started the pilot in Bangalore. So, all machinery will be assessed by a virtual group no matter where the Bill of Entry is filed. In Chennai, it’s already being done. It’s a matter of a few months before it is rolled out across the Country,” he noted.

India’s export-import trade has often complained that each seaport carries out assessment and examination in its own way, with Customs Officers adopting complete divergence in practices.

“This will be brought to a halt soon,” he said.

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