In 1962, Customs Act, 1962 was passed to consolidate and amend the law relating to Customs & Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) was formed as the apex body to collect all Indirect Taxes of the Government of India.
The Gold (Control) Act, 1968: In 1968 Gold Control Act came into exist to control sale and holding of gold in personal possession.Before 1970, Blackmarketing was rampant. During this period Many Acts were incorporated to stop smuggling & black marketing of sensitive goods.
Economic Liberalisation in 1991: In 1991, Government liberalized the Economy and the era of Import Licences was ended. Role of Department underwent a major change fromregulator to facilitator of International Trade.
Indian Customs was one of the first departments to adopt computerization through Indian Customs EDI System (ICES) which initiated a new era in the country. This pilot project was launched in the year 1994-95 at Delhi Customs House which included Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as a key element for connecting all the players involved in international trade with the Customs House electronically. After the successful implementation at Delhi Custom House, the Customs decided to extend the service to other Customs houses. ICES was made operational for exports processing at Inland Container Depot, Tughlakabad in August, 1997; Sahar Air Customs, Mumbai in November, 1997; Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust, New Mumbai in November, 1997; Chennai Air Customs in December, 1997; Bangalore Air Customs in February, 1998; and Container Freight Station, Patparganj in March, 1998. Right now, the system is operational at 23 sites throughout the country.
ICEGATE (Indian Customs EDI Gateway): It is an online portal that provides e-filing services to the trade and cargo carriers and other clients of Customs Department (collectively called Trading Partner). It has been awarded the prestigious e-ASIA award by the Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (AFACT) in their annual convention held at Chinese Taipei on 4th Nov. 2011 for Trade Facilitation. This international recognition follows other award in 2011 i.e. National award for e-governance (Gold) and Digital Inclusion award by SKOCH Foundation. At present, about 24000 users are registered with ICEGATE who are serving about 6.72 lakh importer/exporter. ICEGATE links about 15/broad types partners with Customs EDI through message exchanges enabling faster Customs clearance and in turn facilitating EXIM Trade.
In 2005, Indian Customs took a landmark step in the direction of trade facilitation by adopting Risk Management System (RMS), an IT driven system with the primary objective to strike an optimal balance between facilitation and enforcement and to promote a culture of self compliance in Customs clearances. So far, it has been implemented in 23 major Customs ports and air cargo complexes covering about 85% of India’s international trade. It has revolutionized the Customs import clearance process by cutting down the clearance dwell time drastically. On the occasion of Civil Services Day 2009, at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on 21.04.2009, Shri Hamid Ansari, Hon’ble Vice President of India presented the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration, for the year 2007-08 to the Director General of Systems and Data Management, Central Board of Excise & Customs. The award was given for the initiative “Implementation of Risk Management System in Customs”.
24x7 Customs Clearance: With effect from 31.12.2014, facility of 24x7 Customs clearance for specified imports, namely, goods covered under 'facilitated' Bills of Entry and specified exports, namely, factory stuffed containers and goods exported under free Shipping Bills will be made available in 18 sea ports. Similarly, facility of 24x7 Customs clearance for specified imports, namely, goods covered by facilitated Bills of Entry and all exports viz. goods covered by all Shipping Bills has been extended at 17 air cargo complexes. It helps in faster clearance of such imported and export goods, reduce dwell time and lower the transaction cost.
Direct Port Delivery (DPD): This facility has began last year with the Nhava Sheva port on the outskirts of Mumbai, entails the delivery of a shipment from the port to the consignee instead of initially holding it at a container freight station (CFS).It allows importers/consignees to take delivery of the containers directly from the port terminals and haul them to factories without taking them first to a CFS and from there to factories.
Special Notified Zone for trading of rough diamonds: A 'Special Notified Zone' has been operationalised at Bharat Diamond Bourse at Mumbai. The procedure envisages major diamond mining companies bringing in rough diamonds for display and/or auctions to be conducted within the Customs area and re-exporting the unsold consignments
Adoption of Digital Signature: To dispense with requirement of physical submission of documents and encourage paper less working, with effect from 01.04.2015 on an optional basis the facility of 'Digital Signature' has been introduced for importers, exporters, airlines, shipping lines etc. However, for importers registered under the 'Accredited Client Programme' (ACP), digital signatures are mandatory with effect from 01.05.2015. Introduction of digital signature will maintain data integrity and reduce cost of compliance.
Setting Up of Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee (CCFC): To ensure expeditious clearance of EXIM goods a high level administrative Committee i.e. 'Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee' (CCFC) has been put in place at every major Customs seaport and airport under the chairmanship of Chief Commissioner of Customs/Commissioner of Customs. This Committee would include the senior-most functionary of the other government departments/agencies, such as the Food Safety Standards Authority of India/the Port Health Officer (PHO); the Plant Quarantine, Animal Quarantine Authorities; the Drug Controller of India (CDSO); the Textile Committee; the Port Trust / the Airport Authority of India / Custodians; the Wild Life Authorities; the Railways/CONCOR; the Pollution Control Board. Members from trade can be co-opted to this Committee on need basis. The CCFC is mandated to focus primarily on ensuring and monitoring expeditious clearance of EXIM goods in accordance with the timeline specified by the parent ministry/Department concerned; identifying and resolving bottlenecks, if any, in the clearance procedure of imported and export goods; and resolving grievances of members of the trade and industry in regard to clearance process of imported and export goods. Similarly, at Central level, a 'Central Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee' has also been set up under the chairmanship of Revenue Secretary to address the issue relating to Customs clearance and infrastructure impacting clearance of goods
Single Window Project -Online message exchange: Single Window provides a common platform to EXIM trade to meet requirements of all regulatory agencies (such as Animal Quarantine, Plant Quarantine, Drug Controller, Textile Committee etc) through message exchange. It is basically a network of cooperating facilities bound by trust and set of agreed interface specifications in which trade has seamless access to regulatory services delivered through electronic means. Benefits of Single Window Scheme include ease of doing business, reduced costs, enhanced transparency, reduced duplicity and cost of compliance and optimal utilization of resources. In this direction, with effect from 01.04.2015 an electronic online message exchange facility has been established between Customs and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Department of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (PQIS) at JNPT (Nhava Sheva), ICD, Tughlakabad and ICD, Patparganj, providing for real time seamless online exchange of information, including no objections, with/from these agencies . Other regulatory agencies such as the Animal Quarantine, the Textile Committee, the Drug controller of India and the Wild life authorities are also being brought within the ambit of Single Window Customs Clearance.
Implementation of GST: On 1st of July, 2017 Goods & Service Tax came into effect to create a unified common national market to boost Foreign Investment and enable “Make in India”. Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Special Additional Duty (SAD) are subsumed under GST and Import into India is considered as Inter-State supply under Model GST Law and accordingly attracts Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) along with BCD and other surcharges. It is the biggest Indirect Tax Reform with the motto of One Nation, One Tax, One Market & Mumbai Customs has played a significant role in ensuring a smooth transition to the Goods & Services Tax for all Importers/Exporters and other stakeholders.