SWIFT - a Step towards Ease of Doing Business
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) launched Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) for speedier clearance of inbound shipments. This enables importers to file a common electronic 'integrated declaration' on ICEGATE portal.
SWIFT was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech. Thanks to SWIFT the clearance time of cargo will now be two to three days only. This will greatly reduce transaction costs for traders.
This will be a welcome change as now importers or custom brokers will not have to file nine forms needed by six different agencies and customs for clearances of consignments from various government agencies.
CBCE in a statement had mentioned that,
"The integrated declaration compiles the information required for Customs, FSSAI, plant, quarantine, animal quarantine, drug controller, wild life controller bureau and textiles committee and it replaces nine separate forms required by these six different agencies and Customs."
The statement further mentioned that,
"With the roll-out of the single window, CBEC has also introduced an integral risk management facility for partner government agencies (PGAs), which will ensure that consignments are not selected by agencies routinely for examination and testing but based on the principle of risk management."
How will SWIFT help:
Thanks to the launch of 24x7 SWIFT at customs ports now imported chocolates, textiles and plant products will be able to see very quick clearance to India. But launching 24x7 SWIFT India has joined an elite club of nations that provide such a facility.
Now the importers and exporters will have to just fill one form at customs pots for clearance from all agencies including:
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
Drug Controller General of India
Plant Quarantine and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.
Now because of SWIFT imports will be subject to only risk-based checks by all these agencies in place of 100% compulsory testing.
Ease of doing business:
India's ranking with regards to ease of doing business is 133. This ranking is based on the trading across borders parameter. The higher the time taken for paper work and higher the costs lower is the ranking on the World Bank's ease of doing business.
In India it takes 311 hours for border compliance for imports. Compare this with nine hours taken by countries that are part of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Documentary compliance takes 67 hours in India while for OECD nations it takes four hours for documentary compliance.
Cost for border and documentary compliance for imports in India is $695 while it costs only $148 for border and documentary compliance in OECD nations.
SWIFT will help India all these numbers and improve its ease of doing business ranking.