DGFT could be merged with CBEC for ease of doing business
The Dollar Business Bureau
In order to promote ease of doing business, the government is considering a proposal to merge two departments under the Ministry of Commerce, DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) and the CBEC (Central Board for Excise and Customs).
These departments are common to the ministries of finance and commerce, respectively.
The proposal assumes importance as a major part of the present work profile of DGFT - the foreign trade policy regulator is going to be online with digitisation and implementation of goods and services tax (GST).
The role of the DGFT is facilitation of exports, formulation of foreign trade policy and governs programmes like Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), Export Promotion for Capital Goods (EPCG) and Advance Authorisation Scheme.
The DGFT is mainly manned by officials from Indian Trade Service (ITS) cadre but is generally headed by an officer from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
The matter was recently deliberated upon in an inter-ministerial meet organised by the Cabinet Secretariat, sources told PTI.
“There are some synergies between customs and the DGFT. The two can be merged so that policy and implementation is with one body. Outward looking infrastructure support related activities will be taken care of by the DGFT post-merger,” the source said.
With the government’s emphasis on digitisation, now most of the activities would be managed online such as providing import-export code (IEC) number, etc. When the new tax regime of GST is implemented, all the remaining activities will be performed digitally the source added.
India is also implementing the trade facilitation agreement of World Trade Organisation (WTO), therefore, it would be more practical to put all the trade facilitation-related work under one body.
According to the ease of doing business report (2017) of the World Bank, India’s rank is 130th out of 190 countries and when it comes to ‘trading across borders’ it is 143rd.