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'Customs dept should determine boundaries of outsourcing'

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Apr 8 (UNI) Asserting that outsourcing was necessary in the Customs Department to meet the heightened expectations of trade and industry, Union Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam today said it was the task of the department to determine the boundaries of outsourcing.

''What must be done inside the organisation and what must necessarily be outsourced must be decided from within your organisation,'' he said in his concluding remarks at the debate on 'Outsourcing and Offshoring - a Challenge for Customs' here.

The Minister said the department must define the services and service level expected to be delivered to the end-user by the outsourced vendor. This process would necessarily have to be through a re-engineered business process, established through extensive consultation with the stake holders and processes that were by-products of the use of IT.

Allaying fears that outsourcing and offshoring might lead to loss of knowledge capital or institutional skill, Mr Palanimanickam felt that the core functions of the department could not be outsourced.

The Customs officer would continue to have a pivotal role in protecting the strategic interests of the country, its security, ensuring economic and public health of the nation, besides collection of revenue.

He said that to be able to leverage IT to the maximum, it would be necessary to re-engineer its business processes, concentrate on the processes that relate directly to its core competence and separate the support functions which could be outsourced. He said the Indian Customs was at a juncture where it was attempting to achieve a transformation using Information and Communication Technologies. In this exercise, Customs was looking at orgnisation structures appropriate for the transformation and need for internal skills to carry out these changes.

More than 70 customs administrations and a large number of businessmen, legal experts and professionals from a cross section of the IT industry took part in the interactive sessions on various facets of outsourcing IT in the Customs domain.


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