Introduction

The Central Board of Excise & Customs (hereinafter referred to as “CBEC”) on October 20, 2017, vide circular No.40/2017-(Customs) dated October 13, 2017, launched e- SANCHIT on a pilot basis. The said portal was launched with the aim of facilitating trading across borders and slowly move towards paperless processing and uploading of supporting documents.

With the objective of reducing physical interface between Customs/regulatory agencies and to increase the speed of clearance, it is proposed to introduce a facility to upload digitally signed supporting documents on a pilot basis to be launched shortly. The proposed “Single Window Interface for Trade” (SWIFT), would reduce interface with Governmental agencies, reduce precious time & the cost of doing business in India.

Any registered ICEGATE user can upload the documents.

What is ICEGATE?[1]

Indian Customs Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data interchange (EC/EDI) Gateway (hereinafter referred to as “ICEGATE “) is an online portal that provides e-filing services to the trade and cargo carriers and other clients of Customs Department (collectively called Trading Partner).

ICEGATE is an infrastructure project that fulfils the data communication requirements. Through this facility the department offers a host of services, including electronic filing of the Bill of Entry( import goods declaration), Shipping Bills (export goods declaration) and related electronic messages between Customs and the Trading Partners using communication facilities (E-mail, Web-upload & FTP) using the communication protocols commonly used on the internet. Besides, data is also exchanged between Customs and the various regulatory and licensing agencies such as DGFT, RBI, Ministry of Steel and DGCIS through ICEGATE.

The ICEGATE also provides 24X7 helpdesk facility for its trading partners. To ensure secure filing, it is proposed to use digital signatures on the Bill of Entry and other documents/ messages to be handled on the gateway.

Steps for uploading documents:-

  • Login into ICEGATE website using login credentials.
  • Access the e-SANCHIT application by clicking on e-SANCHIT link provided in menu options.
  • Upload document by clicking on Upload Documents button.
  • Validate the document for digital signature.
  • Submit the document by clicking proper document type from document type drop down and click on the submit button.

What are the mandatory documents that need to be submitted online?

The list of mandatory documents for export/ import of goods from/ into India have already been notified by DGFT notification No. 08/2015-2020[2] dated June 4, 2015, i.e.,

  • Bill of Lading/ Airway Bill
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Commercial Invoice cum Packing List would also be accepted
  • Bill of Entry.

Assessment & Document Verification

Once a Bill of Entry has been filed, Customs officers will be able to access the uploaded electronic versions of supporting documents while viewing or assessing the Bill of Entry on The Indian Customs EDI System (hereinafter referred to as “ICES”). During assessment, ICES provides for a query to be raised in order to call for additional documents or information. In response to a query, supporting documents can also be uploaded online by following the procedure described above. All documents required for the purposes of assessment would be viewed online. In due course, the facility to view supporting documents will also be extended to officers of the Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).

Post Clearance Compliance Verification (PCCV) will be carried out online based on the electronic versions of supporting documents instead of hardcopy dockets of the Bills of Entry.

The Single Window is a much-awaited facility to ease goods clearance procedures at the country’s points of entry and exit.