|Chapter No. 027|
|System of Grievance Redressal in the field formations of Customs|
System of Grievance Redressal in the field formations of Customs
The Citizen’s Charter of the Department envisions that the Customs & Central Excise officers shall carry out their assigned tasks with integrity and judiciousness; courtesy and understanding; objectivity and transparency; promptness and efficiency. The officers are also committed to providing every possible assistance to the public and trade in implementation of the Customs policies and procedures. The Customs department has also initiated a number of measures to ensure that complaint(s)/grievance(s) are minimized and where received these are attended to promptly.
2. In order to take care of the grievance(s)/complaint(s) the department has put in place a grievance redressal mechanism in the field formations of Customs. The grievance redressal machinery can broadly be categorized into two, viz:
(I) Grievance Redressal System related to Cargo clearance;
I) Grievance Redressal System related to Cargo clearance :
3. The clearance of cargo at ports, air cargo complexes, ICDs and CFSs involves interaction of the trade with the officials of the Customs department. To redress the grievance of the public in so far as it relates to clearance of imported goods/export cargo a number of steps have been taken. The main stress has been to review and change procedures and on cutting down contact with the officers to the extent possible, and introducing computerization in Customs clearances to cut down delays at various level which is the main cause of corrupt practice. Some of the major policy initiative & procedural simplification measures in Customs include simplified procedure for movement of export goods from factories/EOUs /EPZs; Reduced percentage of examination of export goods; Fast Track Clearance Scheme; simplification in procedures relating to coastal shipping; transshipment of imported/export goods by trucks etc. The specific measures for facilitation, reducing problem & handling complaints/grievances of trade and industry are mentioned below:
A. Management Information System (MIS)
4. The majority of the problem faced by the importers, exporters, Custom House Agents or their representative is in respect of information regarding clearance of their consignments. With the introduction of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for the clearance of consignments at all major Custom houses it is now possible for the supervisory level /senior officers of Customs to monitor the delay in clearance at any stage. A report is generated every evening of all Bills of entry, Shipping Bills, DBK claim that are pending in the EDI system along with the date of receipt and the level at which the document is pending.
5. The System Manager looks after all EDI related problems. The System Manager holds regular meetings with the Remote EDI (RES) users, CHAs representatives, NIC, CMC and other agencies that support the EDI system.
6. In all major Custom Houses, a “Tele Enquiry System” has also been introduced in recent months. Any exporter, importer or his agent can dial the assigned numbers and ascertain the status of his bills of entry/shipping bills or DBK claim. The system provides a voice response and can also be used on fax mode.
B. Accessibility of Senior Officers
7. The Chief Commissioner/Commissioners earmark time on all working days during which any person having any grievances relating to Customs is free to meet the officer without any prior appointment. A number of Commissioners allow the meeting even outside earmarked hours, the matter is brought to notice are looked into for prompt remedial measures.
C. Public Grievance officer:
8. Each Commissioner has designated a Public Grievance Officer. Public Notices have been issued giving the names and telephone numbers of these officers so that any person from the trade and public may contact them if he has a grievance that is not being redressed by the dealing officer or his supervisor.
9. Public notices are also issued in most Custom Houses periodically explaining the Public grievance redressal machinery available for quick redressal of grievances from the Trade and Industry including grievances relating to delay or unreasonable attitude of the part of any Customs Officer(s).
D. Public Grievance Committee
10. A Public Grievance Committee exists at the level of the Commissioner in each Commissionerate of Customs. The committee consists of representatives of trade and industry, Custom House Agents, representatives of Custodians, such as AAI, CONCOR, Banks, Export Promotion Agencies, such as the Garments Exporters Association, Handicraft Export Association, and Chambers of Commerce etc.
11. The committee meets once in a month and grievances relating to Customs functioning are taken note of for taking prompt remedial action- either during the meeting or after further examination. The minutes of the meeting are circulated to all concerned. In case grievances relate to other agencies such as the Wild Life, NIC or CMC their representatives are also invited for these meetings.
E. Watch Dog Committee:
12. In addition to the above a watchdog committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Commissioner. This committee meets once in two months. Leading association of trade and industry and other agencies that interact with Customs have been included in the committee along with the senior officers of Customs to ensure meaningful dialogue. This Committee takes note of various procedural delays or problems in general being faced in Customs clearance on export/import or grant of various incentives. The feedback from trade and industry is used for necessary review of procedures & taking measures to remove the difficulties of importers/exporters.
II) Grievance Redressal related to Passenger clearance :
13. A number of measures have been taken to ensure that the international passengers do not face any difficulty in Customs clearance at the international airports.
A. Passenger Facilitation/grievance redressal mechanism:
14. More than 90% of the passengers walk through the green channel if they have nothing to declare. The officers of Customs have been sensitized to show due courtesy and exemplary conduct especially towards the elderly, illiterate passengers. However, in case the passenger still has a grievance there are a number of illuminated boards installed by Customs in the arrival/departure halls and in the immigration area suggesting that they may approach the PRO (Customs) for help.
15. Senior officers of the rank of Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Customs are available round the clock and the passenger can directly approach them for redressal of their grievances.
16. It has also been displayed that for any vigilance angle grievance the passenger can lodge the complaint with the Commissioner of Customs or the CVC.
B. Airport Facilitation Committee
17. The Airport Facilitation Committee has also been constituted to look into the complaints of the passengers arriving at the airport. The committee meets once in a month and has members from various agencies working at the airport like IAAI, Customs, Immigration, and Police etc.
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