The Prime Minister’s Office has directed the commerce ministry to take immediate steps on streamlining procedures for trade with a view to facilitate movement of goods across borders and improve India’s ranking in ease of doing business, an official said.
India ranked 146th in Trading Across Borders component of ease of doing business, out of 190 countries ranked by the World Bank in its latest report. “As the ranking in this parameter is not good, the Prime Minister’s Office has directed the ministry to take steps in this direction,” the commerce ministry official said.
The logistics division of the ministry is working to significantly improve the position in the next year’s report. As part of the steps, the ministry has written to all the major stakeholders, including ports, customs, regulatory bodies such as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to give all approvals and clearances in a paperless manner. “We have asked to give all clearances for exports and imports online. Paper transaction needs to be eliminated as it increases inefficiencies,” the official added.
The move would significantly help in reducing both time and cost of traders for taking different kinds of approvals. Although the government has reduced the number of mandatory documents required for import and export of goods to three in each case, it takes time to get approval. The ministry has also asked customs to carry out ‘direct port delivery’ for majority of consignments with a view to speed up movement of cargo containers.
According to an exporter, it takes several days for clearance of cargos without ‘direct port delivery’ system. Under this delivery mechanism, it takes about 50 hours. The whole exercise is aimed at pushing the country’s exports.
As per the latest World Bank report on ease of doing business, India’s ranking was improved to 100th from 130th.