To facilitate seamless processing of import/export clearances the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has introduced ‘SWIFT’. This was launched as a part of the ease of doing initiative of the Government to integrate Customs and other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs). In this article, we will discuss the important aspects of the ‘SWIFT’ initiative in brief.
The Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) was introduced to improve the efficiency of the import/export systems. This ‘Single Window’ mechanism aims to reduce the trader’s hassles by eliminating the need to approach various regulatory agencies in person. Submission of clearance documents and permissions from multiple regulatory agencies can be obtained digitally through SWIFT. This reduces the cost of compliance, time and resources.
e-Storage and Computerized Handling of Indirect Tax documents (e SANCHIT) is a component of SWIFT that allows traders to submit all relevant documents for clearance of consignments electronically with digital signatures. This eliminates the need of submitting hard copies of various documents in person as the entire process of consignment clearance is now made faceless and paperless. The Government had mandated all importers to follow the regulatory compliances electronically since 1 April 2018. The Government is working towards bringing the Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) under the purview of e-SANCHIT.
With this, the PGAs who issue licences, Permits, Certificates and Other Authorisations (LPCOs) can upload the documents directly on the digital platform. Once the PGAs upload the LPCOs, a unique Image Reference Number (IRN) is generated by the system, and this will be communicated to the trader electronically. The email ID of the trader registered on the ICEGATE portal will be the communication address.
Note: On 14 May 2020, the Government has clarified that importers/exporters/brokers will not be allowed to upload the previously issued LPCOs on e-SANCHIT from 31 May 2020 and only the PGAs could upload the relevant documents henceforth.
As mentioned above, traders have to upload documents electronically to obtain clearances. In this regard, the CBIC has asked all importers/exporters, customs brokers or any other beneficiary dealing with customs to register on the ICEGATE portal. Once the registration is complete, the registered member can upload documents by following these steps:
► Step 1: Login on the ICEGATE portal. Only those taxpayers, who are registered on ICEGATE along with the digital signature certificate, can upload the supporting documents in electronic format.
► Step 2: Select e-SANCHIT
► Step 3: Upload documents
► Step 4: Select the document type against each document uploaded.
► Step 5: ‘Submit’ documents to generate IRN’s
To summarise: The objective of e SANCHIT is to reduce the physical interface between customs/regulatory agencies and the traders and to increase the speed of clearance for both imports & exports. It aims to facilitate trading across borders.
Image Source: https://www.icegate.gov.in/Download/eSANCHIT_Step_by_Step_Procedure_updated.pdf