Single Window Interface for ease in Trading (SWIFT), SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade) clearances is facility introduced by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) vide press release dated 1st April 2006.This initiative is undertaken in line with budget announcement made by the Honourable Finance minister with respect to ‘Ease of doing business.
What is SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade)
SWIFT clearances refer to the initiative afforded by CBEC, which enables importer or exporter to file a common electronic return, known as ‘Integrated Declaration’. This declaration is filed on ICEGATE portal.
What information requirement does SWIFT declaration cover
SWIFT declaration complies with all mandatory information requirements of following departments or agencies
- FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India)
- Plant Quarantine
- Animal Quarantine
- Drug Controller
- Wild Life Control bureau
- Textile Committee
SWIFT declaration is to be filed in place of nine separate forms required by the above agencies.Bill of entry would be substituted by ‘Integrated Customs Electronic Declaration’ (ICE declaration.
What else does SWIFT cover
Along with SWIFT declaration, CBEC has also rolled out Integrated Risk Management facility for PGAs (Partner Government Organizations).This facility provides for selection of consignments by agencies on the basis of risk management principle rather than random selection of cases. This has already facilitated 70% of import cargo.
Basic features of SWIFT
- It will provide for customs single point clearances of import goods.
- SWIFT will ensure security and convenience by enabling online filing.
- It will reduce documentation efforts and costs along with cost of clearances.
- It encourages paperless clearances which will enhance transparency
- It will save time and improve ease of doing business, thereby attracting international business to invest in India.
Benefits of SWIFT facility
- Ease of doing business by facilitating common declaration filing
- Reduced costs of filing separate returns as well as maintaining required data for 9 separate returns
- Enhanced Transparency due to single window interface.
- Reduced redundancy due to one declaration in place of 9 separate returns under different agencies
- Reduced costs of compliance due to reduced duplication
- Optimal utilization of resources
- Real time consistent online messaging facility between various authorities like ICD (Inland Container Depot), FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) etc.
Implication of ease of doing business with the introduction of SWIFT
Trading across borders is marked with time required for all the formalities of border compliance.Lets compare the time taken for compliance activities in below table
|Activity||India||OECD (Organization for Economic Co operation and Development)|
|Border compliance for imports||311 hours||9 hours|
|Documentary compliance||67 hours||4 hours|
|Approximate cost of border and documentary compliance||$ 695||$ 148|
So it can be easily seen that Border as well as documentary compliances in India is much time taking and much expensive.Hence , India is ranked at 133th place with respect to ease of doing business.
With the new initiative of facilitating ease of trading , SWIFT has been introduced with an intention that it will reduce the times taken and cost incurred on border compliance.
This is definitely a step towards enhancing trade facilitation , which is expected to bring down the time required for clearances and costs incurred on border compliances as well. This facility is expected to receive great welcome from importer and exporter as they will be relieved from redundant form filing and will achieve quick clearances.