NEW DELHI : The Centre is considering a proposal to shift Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) office to the Department of Revenue (DoR) from the Department of Commerce (DoC) — as part of measures to simplify processes relating to export and import.
The suggestion described as a major trade facilitation measure and in line with the Centre’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiative is understood to have been mooted recently by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the DoR within the Finance Ministry.
The DGFT’s role includes Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) formulation and implementation - to in turn boost India’s exports. It is manned mainly by the Indian Trade Service (ITS) cadre officials, but is usually headed by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
If the proposal, that the CBEC put forward in a recent inter-ministerial meeting convened by the Cabinet Secretariat, is accepted, the DGFT will be placed within the DoR and staffed entirely by Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officials, This development follows the DoC recently seeking to hive off non-core areas and to utilise its resources in ‘core focus areas’ such as trade negotiations with other economic blocs and countries.
The CBEC said it was getting several complaints from the foreign trade sector saying the current division of trade facilitation-related work between DoC and DoR was resulting in ‘red tapism’ and delays.
It will be better if the entire trade facilitation work is brought under a single interface to ensure greater ease of doing business, the CBEC said.
India is currently ranked 130th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s (ease of) Doing Business report this year and further lower at 143rd when it comes to ‘trading across borders’.