The popular corporate practice of performance appraisal forms is the cornerstone of Indian customs’ pitch to the World Bank team here to assess business friendliness at ports for the ‘Ease of Doing Business Ratings’. Customs has created a special online system where in clearances by each jurisdiction are monitored and rated at each level on time taken, a senior government. “This new online system measures efficiency levels in a transparent manner and will enable the department to assess performance at each jurisdiction level,” the official said. India jumped by 66 ranks in the ‘Trading Across Borders’ component of the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings in 2019 to 80 from 146. Customs is now keen to ensure it further improves in line with the plan to cross the top 50 bracket.

While only two locations — Delhi and Mumbai — were assessed by the World Bank, trade facilitation plan including timely clearances has been extended to most customs ports. This assessment plan facilitates capture of data of clearances at each level in a jurisdiction and total time taken. A rating can be provided to each jurisdiction in line with time taken for each stage of clearance. This can be monitored centrally by the board. “This will bring about some level of competition between different jurisdictions as online ratings could be viewed by them,” said the official. Customs has already unveiled several measures such introducing direct port delivery as well as single window clearance for faster clearances. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has also rolled out electronic self-sealing with RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chip for consignments for compliant exporters and authorised economic operators not requiring presence of inspectors for sealing. It has also started online tracking of containers. India is aiming to bring down time taken for imports delivery at sea ports to 48 hours and airports to 24 hours by 2020 and authorities believe a transparent performance measurement will help.