As part of its initiatives to expedite clearance of goods, the customs department is planning to simplify procedures for exports by India Post, including permitting e-commerce shipments through all foreign post offices, the finance ministry said on Saturday.
The department’s plan to allow e-commerce exports through all foreign post offices (FPOs), however, would be without benefits of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for now.
Since 2016, e-commerce exports had been allowed through Foreign Post Offices (FPOs) under MEIS incentives from the post offices at Chennai, Mumbai & Delhi. “Now, customs may be leading the reform race by permitting e-commerce exports through all FPOs, though without MEIS benefits for now,” the ministry statement said. With imports and exports by Post being the sixth highest cited citizen grievances under CPGRAMs, the customs department and Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) have been working together for last one year to liberalise, reform and align laws relating to imports by it.
Identifying the absence of professional logistics companies as one of the major bottlenecks in the postal system, the ministry said these measures can facilitate SMEs to reach global stage through online presence and reducing dependence on third parties for postal logistics.
“In order to cater to the SMEs and what may come as a major boost to the Make in India programme, customs are proposing new simplified procedures for exports through India Post,” it added.
The customs department is planning some of these initiatives on the back of introducing non-intrusive technologies like x-ray scanning at Foreign Post Offices to expedite release of goods. These measures are also likely to control smuggling of narcotics. “In order to strengthen law enforcement, Customs will scan mail bags at the airports itself for identifying suspect consignments and contraband items,” the statement said.
The Customs department and the Department of India Post held the first joint conference on Friday to deliberate on streamlining of imports and exports by post. The conference was attended by Commissioners of Customs from all the states having Foreign Post Offices along with their counterpart Post Master Generals.