Customs procedures are now online and faceless

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Sameer Chitkara, the new customs commissioner of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, said that to make it easier for exporters, most of the procedures related to exports and imports have been anonymized and online. They don’t need to come to the office. He expressed the hope that this would give them great international traders.

Chitkara was speaking in an exclusive interview with Free press. After the post of customs commissioner was created for MP-CG, an IRS officer from the 1997 batch, Chitkara, is the first full-fledged customs commissioner. The MP-CG customs commissioner’s office was located in the city near Lasudia Square. Until now, the central excise and GST commissioner, Indore, had also held the additional office of customs commissioner.

Chitkara shared several interesting views on various concerns of exporters and importers.

Q. What kind of “ease of doing business” initiatives are you planning to introduce?

A. In these recent times, which are also times of pandemic, we want to have faceless interaction with the people assessed (exporters and importers). Faceless means one can sit at home and file declarations, letters of entry, shipping invoices, etc. We don’t need to visit the office. You can do all of this directly from your home or office. The other part of the initiative is faceless. When you drop the entrance bill, you don’t even know where it will land, maybe in Mumbai or any other city.

So basically this is a faceless system to reduce interaction between officers and appraisers. All the work is done online and they will have to pay less for office visits. These are the main orientations on which we are working.

Q. Do exporters generally complain that officers are looking for documents unnecessarily?

A. During my mandate, so far, I have not encountered any such complaint. Despite this, if an exporter or importer feels that the requested documents are unnecessary and time consuming, they can approach our head office or the additional commissioner in the office. His problem will be taken care of.

Q. After pocketing here, exporters prefer to ship their shipment to Mumbai by road. What will you do to help them?

A. We are a landlocked state. Thus, we have 2 interior container depots (ICD) in Pithampur, one is CONCOR and the other is a private actor. Both have rail and road facilities. Thus, it is up to the exporters which route and which carrier they wish to take. We don’t have a direct role. They have to choose the carrier.

Q. What would you do for the exporters?

A. We will provide more convenience for exporters. Come to our jurisdiction and export from our ICD. I can only assure everyone is welcome to export and have no problem.

Q. What is the status of the Regional Customs Advisory Committee?

A. The advisory committee is centralized. Our regional office is in Bhopal because the office of the chief commissioner is there. They have quarterly meetings.

Technocrat turned IRS officer

Chitkara has a B.Tech degree. Prior to assuming the post of Customs Commissioner, Chitkara was Commissioner (Audit), Central Excise, in the city.

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Posted on: Tuesday October 05, 2021 01:55 IST

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