Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Sameer Chitkara, newly appointed Customs commissioner of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, has stated that, to offer ease to exporters, most procedures related to exports and imports have been made faceless and online. They do not need to visit the office. He expressed the hope that this would give them great international traders.
Chitkara was speaking in an exclusive interview to Free Press. After the creation of the post of Customs commissioner for MP-CG, a 1997 batch IRS officer, Chitkara, is the first full-fledged Customs commissioner. The office of Customs commissioner of MP-CG has been set up in the city close to Lasudia Square. So far, the central excise-cum-central GST commissioner, Indore, had also held the additional charge of Customs commissioner.
Chitkara shared several interesting views on various concerns of exporters and importers.
Q. What kind of ‘ease of doing business’ initiatives are you planning to introduce?
A. In these recent times—which are pandemic times, too—we want to have a faceless interaction with the assessees (exporters and importers). Faceless means one can sit at home and file one’s returns, bills of entry, shipping bills, and so forth. One doesn’t need to visit the office. One can do all these right from one’s home or office. The other part of the initiative is faceless. When you file the bill of entry, you don’t even know where it will land up—maybe in Mumbai or any other city.
So, basically, this is a faceless system to reduce interaction between officers and assessees. The whole work is getting done online and they will have to pay fewer visits to the office. These are the broad guidelines on which we’re working.
Q. Exporters commonly complain that the officers seek documents unnecessarily?
A. In my tenure, so far, I haven’t come across any such complaint. Despite that, if any exporter or importer does feel that the documents being asked for are unnecessary and time-consuming, they may approach our headquarters or the additional commissioner sitting in the office. His problem will be taken care.
Q. After stuffing here, exporters prefer to dispatch their consignment to Mumbai by road. What will you do to help them?
A. We are a land-locked state. So, we have 2 inland container depots (ICDs) in Pithampur—one is CONCOR and other is a private player. Both have rail and road facilities. So, it is up to the exporters which route and which transporter they wish to take. We don’t have a direct role. They have to choose the transporter.
Q. What would you do for exporters?
A. We’ll provide more ease to exporters. Come to our jurisdiction and export from our ICD. I can only give the assurance that anyone is welcome in exports and they won’t face any problems.
Q. What is the status of the Regional Advisory Committee of Customs?
A. The advisory committee is centralised. Our regional office is in Bhopal because the chief commissioner’s office is there. They hold meetings every quarter.
Chitkara has a B.Tech degree. Before assuming charge as Customs commissioner, Chitkara was commissioner (Audit), Central Excise, in the city.