Ease of doing business Current Affairs - 2020

Govt. launches ICEDASH for faster customs clearance

Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman launched a new IT initiatives called ICEDASH for improved monitoring and pace of Customs clearance of imported goods. ICEDASH would be key drivers for further improvement in Customs especially as it would reduce interface and increase transparency of Customs functioning.

What id ICEDASH?

It is an Ease of Doing Business monitoring dashboard of Indian Customs. It will help the public see daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports. With ICEDASH, Indian Customs will provide an effective tool that helps businesses compare clearance times across ports and plan their logistics accordingly, thus taking a lead globally.

This dashboard has been developed by CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) in collaboration with NIC (National Informatics Centre). ICEDASH can be accessed through the CBIC website.

About National Informatics Centre (NIC)

It is the premier science and technology organisation under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) that works in informatics services and information and communication technology (ICT) applications.

NOTE: CBIC is India’s nodal national agency responsible for administering GST, Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics in country.

What is Open General Export Licence issued by Defence Minister?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved issuance of two Open General Export Licences (OGELs) for export of certain parts and components as well as intra-company transfer of technology to select countries. This decision is expected to give a boost to defence exports and enhance ease of doing business (EDB).

Key Highlights of OGEL

The OGEL is a one-time export licence to be granted to a company for a specific period which would initially be only two years.

The OGEL policy was formulated by DPP, following a demand by exporters and after holding extensive consultations with various stakeholders. Once formulated, the policy was submitted for Defence Minister’s approval.

Countries allowed under OGELs: France, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Japan, Poland, UK and USA.

The application for grant of OGEL will be considered by Department of Defence Production, Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) on a case-to-case basis. Export of items to a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is not permitted.

The applicant is mandatory to have Import-Export certificate, for acquiring licences. The quarterly and end of the year reports on all transactions done under OGELs should be submitted to DPP for examination and post-export verification.

Items permitted under OGEL includes: components of fuse and ammunition setting device without energetic and explosive material, firing control and related warning equipment as well as body protective items. Complete aircraft or complete unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and any components specially designed/modified for UAVs are excluded under this licence.

Condition: The transfer of technology to permitted countries is subjected to condition that- export is an intra-company transfer either from an Indian subsidiary or applicant exporter to its foreign parent company and/or to the subsidiaries of the foreign parent company.

India’s Defence Export

India has made significant strides in improving its defence exports and these have grown seven fold over last 2 years and reached to Rs.10,500 crore rupees in 2018-19. This has been made possible due to the reforms brought in standard operating procedure (SOPs) and ushering in a portal for online clearance of applications. Moreover, the processing time has been brought down significantly.