This is facilitated through an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) which consists of officials from Ministries of Commerce, Finance (Department of Revenue), Railways and Shipping.
NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure speedier and more transparent approval process for the setting up of Inland Container Depot (ICD)/Container Freight Station (CFS)/Air Freight Station (AFS), the companies can now move their applications and track their progress online, the government said on Friday.
“The improved procedure is aimed at ensuring a speedier and more transparent approval process. Companies can now submit applications online and view their progress/update online, without visiting any government office. This is a pioneer attempt as a major inter-ministerial IT Application rather than a mere intra-ministerial IT initiative,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
There have been frequent complaints from applicants that the manual process is very cumbersome and not only does it result in loss of documents in transit but also leads to lack of transparency regarding status of clearances by various agencies/departments. There have been persistent demands from various stakeholders to streamline the processes.
Now, the back-end process will also be online and the applicant can see various stages of processing of his/her application in various ministries/departments online.
“Apart from saving reams of paper, the process also brings about greater transparency by disclosing the application status. This includes sending out SMS and e-mail alerts to keep all stakeholders abreast of the progress,” the Ministry said.
“This approach was conceived under the broader umbrella motto of the government – ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’,” the statement said.
The approval process for setting up an ICD/CFS/AFS involves many departments. This is facilitated through an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) which consists of officials from Ministries of Commerce, Finance (Department of Revenue), Railways and Shipping. If required, the view of the respective state government is also sought.
This IMC is housed in the Department of Commerce which is mandated to act as a single window for the approval process.
Under the current process, an applicant submits as many as 10 physical copies of the application form with requisite documents to Infrastructure Division at the Department of Commerce (DoC), besides one copy with the Jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs.
The current process of examination of application is very cumbersome, and the application form very bulky with ancillary material running into almost 500-1,000 pages. This is initially scrutinised by the Department of Commerce for adherence to the land acquisition guidelines.
Copies of the application are then sent to Ministry of Railways, Shipping, Civil Aviation and Department of Revenue (Central Board of Excise and Customs) for scrutiny and comments. Department of Revenue (CBEC) then sends the copies of this application to the Jurisdictional Commissioners in the field and thereafter on receiving a report from them sends their clearances to Department of Commerce.
Upon receiving the comments from the Ministry of Railways, Shipping, Civil Aviation and Department of Revenue (CBEC), a meeting of Inter-Ministerial Committee is convened wherein the application is reviewed on the basis of the comments received and a decision taken on issue of the Letter of Intent to the applicant.
Upon receiving the approval, the applicant is required to set up the infrastructure within one year from the date of approval. The IMC may grant an extension of six months after reviewing the justification for delays given by the party.
After the applicant has put up the required infrastructure, conformed with the security standards of the Jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs and provided a bond backed by bank guarantee to the Customs, a final clearance and Customs notification is issued by the Customs department which then declares the facility operational.