Clarification on “Trade Facilitation Measures” at DGFT

Trade Facilitation Measures at DGFT

a) Clarification on Trade Facilitation Measures (31 Mar 2016)

The DGFT vide Trade Notice No. 22/2015 dt. 31st March, 2016 has clarified on confusions about the recent IT enabled “Trade Facilitation Measures”, as under:

Reference is invited to Trade Notices No. 12/2015 dated 13.01.2016 and No. 14/2015 dated 19.01.2016 wherein the endeavour of DGFT to move towards an IT enabled paperless and personal contact free environment to achieve the objectives of maintaining efficiency, absolute integrity and transparency in the functioning of all the offices of the Directorate in a more comprehensive and complete manner, was stressed.

2. A number of steps were listed in para 1 (i) to (vi) of the aforesaid Trade Notice dated 19.01.2016 in this regard. The main thrust behind enlisting/ prescribing these steps/measures being to enable and encourage members of trade to communicate with DGFT offices through email etc. with the assurance that their concerns would be effectively addressed without them having to waste time and resources in physically pursuing their matters and being assured of a response  in a prescribed time frame. It was never the intention, as should be clear from a simple reading of the notice, that applicants would be persona non-grata in DGFT offices. The notice clearly envisaged a facility for documentary submissions at the reception desk and personal meetings with senior officers to have concerns addressed if applicants still felt the need to do so. In light of reports of the un-constructive interpretation of the notice made in some quarters, it is reiterated that no person is to be denied an opportunity to meet with an officer in any DGFT office if he or she so desires. If the head of the office or an officer of Joint DGFT rank or above is not available at that time, he or she may meet the senior most officer available in the office. An institutionalized interaction arrangement is also proposed to be instituted, as described below.

3. It is also clarified that the above arrangements introduced vide TN dated 19.01.2015 will not interfere with or in any way curtail, including in aspects like requirements related to appearance, personal hearing etc., proceedings initiated under the provisions of the FT (D&R) Act.

4. Further, it has been decided that there will be an open house for applicants between 2.30 PM and 3.30 PM on every Wednesday in all RA offices in a designated meeting room / place. The duration may be extended as required. During this period concerns / pending issues of applicants raised by them will be addressed by the officers / staff concerned who will make themselves accessible in the meeting room. If the officer / staff member concerned is not available on a particular day, the designated link officers / staff member shall address the concerns / issues. To the extent possible the head of the office will preside over the open house.

5. Regional Authorities may implement these arrangements on priority and abide by the spirit of the two TNs dated 13.01.2016 and 19.01.2016, rather than their literal wording, and ensure that official business in the offices is conducted in an upright, fair and transparent manner.

b) Better Trade Facilitation Measures at DGFT, i.e. moving towards IT enabled paperless & personal contact free environment (19 Jan 2016)

The DGFT has issued Trade Notice No. 14/2015-20 dt. 19 Jan., 2016, in continuation of Trade Notice No. 12/2015-20 dated 13.01.2016, stressing the need to maintain absolute integrity and transparency in the functioning of all DGFT offices, attention is drawn to the fact that DGFT is moving towards an IT enabled paperless and personal contact free environment to achieve these objectives in a more comprehensive and complete manner. While these actions have been substantially undertaken and remaining actions will be taken in an expedited timeframe. the following steps are to be immediately implemented in all DGFT offices, including DGFT Headquarters in Delhi:

(i) Barring exceptions given below, no outside person (i.e. person not working in that office) will be required to enter any DGFT office including DGFT Headquarters henceforth.

(ii) All queries/submissions to be made to any DGFT office shall be made by e-mail to the officer/staff member concerned. All such e-mails will be replied to within 48 hours of their receipt and the matter resolved in the prescribed timeframe. Where further clarification, etc. is required, it will be indicated in the e-mail reply for suitable response by the applicant. All e-mails by the applicant shall be copied to the Head of the Office. The reply
from the officer concerned shall also be copied to the Head of the Office, who will on a weekly basis review all such e-mails to ensure compliance with the above timeline and timely disposal of the matter. List of e-mail addresses of Heads of Offices is given below (Please refer Trade Notice No. 14/2015-20 dt. 19 Jan., 2016). For all functional areas where online facility/options are available, these may be preferably exercised by applicants.

(iii) In matters where physical submission is absolutely necessary, the applicant will dispatch the physical documentation by speed post with a copy of the above e-mail/online submission reference to link the two and mention the same in the e-mail which can include scanned copies of the documents as attachments.

(iv) Any person who wishes to submit a document or application in person notwithstanding (i), (ii) and (iii) above for unavoidable reasons, will do so by way of submission at a Receipt Desk at the Office Reception, in each DGFT office. The person submitting such app”cation/documentation shall be given a computerized acknowledgement. This application must carry the name, address, telephone No. and e-mail address of the applicant. As indicated in (i) and (ii) above, all Heads of Offices will monitor these submissions also on weekly basis to ensure that a response by e-mail is sent to the applicant within 48 hours and the matter is disposed of within the prescribed timeline.

(v) If, notwithstanding the above, it is absolutely necessary for an applicant to meet an officer in person, the meeting shall be permissible only with the Head of Office or a person not below the rank of Joint DGFT who shall
listen to-the applicant and facilitate timely and proper disposal of the matter as above and convey a response by e-mail. It shall be strictly enforced that visitors’ passes shall not be issued in any other circumstance. Visitors issued passes for meeting with Head of the Office/officers of Joint DGFT and above rank, will be strictly supervised to ensure that they meet with the designated person and immediately exit the building. Any person entertaining visitors in violation of these guidelines will be strictly dealt with. EDI related complainants may, however, be allowed by the senior to meet with technical staff to resolve their matter.

(vi) All RAs shall maintain an updated list of all pending applications in various functional areas like lEC code, Status Holder Certificate, DFlA/Advance Authorisation, EPCG, EODC, MEIS, other scripts etc giving time duration of pendency etc and review daily. With support of NIC these lists shall be posted online.

DGFT Trade Notice No. 14/2015 dated 19.01.2016

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