New Delhi: In a major move aimed at boosting international trade, the PMO on Tuesday said customs facilities at select eight airports and seaports will function round-the-clock from August 25.
     
The identified airports are Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. Besides, customs operations at Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla and JNPT sea ports will be open 24x7.
     
"One of the major constraints for international trade has been the non-availability of customs clearance...round the clock...In order to remove this bottleneck, it has now been agreed that customs clearances will now be available at identified sea-ports and airports 24 X 7," Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
     
The 24X7 customs operations would begin on a pilot basis. "A notice in this regard shall issue by August 10, with 24x7 operations to commence after two weeks from that date, on August 25," the PMO statement said.
     
It added that other government agencies, including concerned authorities at ports and airports, Customs House Agents, drug controller, private players, banks, quarantine and transporters have been instructed to work round-the-clock to synchronise with the extended work hours.
     
"This would be initially for four months after which efforts would be made to expand similar operations at other locations," it said.
     
The move will facilitate faster clearance of certain categories of import and export cargo.
     
"For imports, the category 'No Assessment No Examination' will be covered. This would account for 70 percent of imports. For exports, the 24X7 facility could be extended to those exports not claiming benefits," the statement said.
     
Besides, for smooth operationalisation of round-the-clock clearance, Commissioners of Customs concerned at identified locations have been asked to hold meetings with all stakeholders.
     
"Such additional staff that is required to start these operations shall be redeployed from existing resources. Secretary, Commerce and the Director General, Foreign Trade shall also hold meetings with other support agencies to facilitate and ensure 24X7 operations," it said.
     
The Department of Revenue shall assess the pilot and propose expansion of coverage if it is required.

(Agencies)

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