GOODS can be cleared without payment of excise duty for export. The export can be under supervision and sealing of the packages or containers by the Central Excise officers and can also be under self sealing. The advantage of getting the containers sealed by the Central Excise Officers is that they are not normally further examined by the Customs at the port. It is easier and less expensive to deal with Central Excise officers than Customs officers.
It seems CBEC has received references from the trade as well as from field formations regarding problems faced by trade in sealing of Bulk Cargo for export under bond under Notification No. 42/2001-Central Excise (N.T.), dated 26.06.2001. It has been pointed out that bulk cargo for e.g. coal, iron-ore, alumina Concentrate, heavy machinery etc. are difficult to seal in packages or container and hence a suggestion has been made that there is a need to prescribe procedure for export of such goods.
And so Board has prescribed a complicated procedure.
The Notification No. 42/2001-CE(NT) has been amended to stipulate that where the nature of goods is such that the goods cannot be sealed in a package or a container such as coal or ore, etc., exemption from sealing of package or container may be granted by the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner of Central Excise subject to safeguard as may be specified by him in the permission.
If you want to export without sealing this is how it happens.
1. Apply to the Principal Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner with a copy to Deputy Commissioner/Assistant Commissioner. And explain to them why the goods can't be sealed.2. The Deputy Commissioner/Assistant Commissioner has 15 days to forward the application to the PC/Commissioner. He is supposed to send the application with due verification as needed. But Board doesn't say what is DUE and what is NEEDED.3. The PC/Commissioner has three weeks to forward the application to the Principal Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner.4. The Principal Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner will grant or reject the request for waiver of sealing of bulk cargo with in fifteen days of receipt of the application from the Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of Central Excise.
So, it may take you 51 days to know whether the permission has been granted or not and nobody will be responsible even if you don't get the communication from the Principal Chief Commissioner even after 50 days.
Export is supposed to be a National Priority and here is CBEC prescribing such a complicated procedure for granting exemption from sealing and giving its officers nearly two months time to grant or reject permission. And is the Chief Commissioner's order appealable or should you go to the High Court? What is the great achievement for CBEC in insisting on sealing unsealable goods? Why should the exporter be forced to seal the packages/containers?
It is really ridiculous to even imagine that the department wants 50 days to grant or reject permission. Is the exporter expected to wait for all these days for the great Indian bureaucracy to crawl through its administration? Will the foreign buyer move with the same snail's pace as the Indian Customs? Or will CBEC direct them also to wait for at least three months before something can be shipped from India?
If export is a priority, if facilitation is an avowed policy of the department and if ‘ease of doing business' is not an empty promise, why should the Board complicate matters? This Notification No.42/2001-CENT was issued more than 14 years ago - there was bulk cargo even then. Why should the Board suddenly wake up to create difficulties? When the whole thrust is on elimination of contact points, what is the need to create three contact points; now the exporter is required to follow up his request with the Assistant Commissioner's office, the Commissioner's office and the Chief Commissioner's office and papers don't move by themselves. In each of these offices, he will have to deal with an Inspector, a Superintendent and an Assistant Commissioner.
Export is a national priority - if permission of the Chief Commissioner is required, somebody from the Chief Commissioner's office should go and hand over the permission to the exporter within an hour of the application and ask him, “is there anything else the Chief Commissioner can do for you in facilitating this export?”. Will this ever happen in India?
And at the cost of repetition, why this sealing, why this exemption and why this permission? Whose interests are we trying to protect?
And in case it is absolutely required, why can't the Board identify some of the cargo and give a blanket permission without each exporter having to apply for it?