Circular No. ES/188/2020-21 6th June, 2020
To : Members of the Council
Sub: 1st phase of All India roll-out of Faceless Assessment
CBIC has issued Circular No.28/2020-Customs dated 5th June, 2020 declaring the 1st phase of All India roll-out of Faceless Assessment. CBIC had earlier issued Circular No.09/2019-Customs, dated 28th February 2019, on Board's decision to implement the next generation reforms in the Customs clearance process under the umbrella of Turant Customs with the objectives of speedy clearance, transparency in decision making, and ease of doing business. Subsequently, CBIC rolled out numerous changes to the Customs clearance process, which include self-registration of goods by importers, automated clearances of bills of entry, digitisation of customs documents, paperless clearance, etc.
The Board is now ready for the roll out of the most critical reform under the Turant Customs viz., Faceless Assessment.
The first pilot programme of Faceless Assessment covering articles falling under Chapter 84 began in Chennai on 14th August, 2019. Similar pilot programmes were began in Customs formations in Delhi, Bengaluru, Gujarat and Visakhapatnam for articles falling under Chapters 85, 86 to 92, 39, 50 to 71 and 72 to 83. Thus, Board is now ready to launch Faceless Assessment pan India.
Faceless assessment is -
A complete departure from the existing manner of Customs assessment.
Will bring anonymity in assessment and cut down the physical interface between the Assessing Officer and the importer/ broker to the extent technologically feasible.
Will ensure uniformity in assessments across the country, thereby reducing transaction costs and uncertainty amongst the trade.
It is felt by CBIC that there is a need to introduce the changes in phases which would give the trade and other stakeholders (including the Customs officers) time to adapt to the changed scenario without any disruption of work. Thus, CBIC has decided to begin Faceless Assessment in phases beginning with Customs stations which already have the experience of the pilot programmes. Therefore, the first phase would begin from 8th June, 2020 at Bengaluru and Chennai for items of imports primarily covered by Chapters 84 and 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The phased rollout plan envisages that Faceless Assessment shall be the norm pan India by 31st December, 2020.
In order to introduce Phase 1 of Faceless Assessment at Bengaluru and Chennai from 8th June 2020 for imports primarily made under Chapters 84 and 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 at these Customs stations, Board has issued following two notifications-
1) Notification No.50/2020-Customs (N.T.) dated 5th June, 2020- Notification to empower Customs officers as 'proper officers' to conduct faceless or remote assessment of Bills of Entry filed under Section 46 of the Customs Act, 1962 for import in another Customs station
2) Notification No.51/2020-Customs (N.T.) dated 5th June, 2020- Notification to amend Notification No.92/2017-Customs (NT), dated 28.09.2017 to specify the jurisdiction of Commissioner (Appeals) to assessment orders passed by Faceless Assessment Groups
Since one of the main objectives of Faceless Assessment is speedy and uniform assessment practices, hence, in Phase 1 of Faceless Assessment, Board hereby nominates Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of Customs, Bengaluru City, Bengaluru, Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of Customs, Airport and Air Cargo Complex, Bengaluru, Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of Customs (II), Chennai and Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of Customs (VII), Air Cargo Complex Chennai to act as nodal Commissioners for the purpose of administratively monitoring the assessment practice in respect of imported goods which are assigned in the Customs Automated System to the officers of the Faceless Assessment Groups in Bengaluru and Chennai, for articles primarily falling under Chapters 84 and 85, of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
The said nodal Commissioners would work in a coordinated manner. This arrangement would pave the path to establish National Assessment Commissionerates (NACs) with the mandate to examine the assessment practices of imported articles across Customs stations and suggest measures to bring about uniformity and enhanced quality of assessments. The NACs would be put in place as and when Faceless Assessment is rolled out in phases across the country.
Please note the following -
1) The Principal Chief Commissioners/ Chief Commissioners concerned shall set up dedicated cells called Turant Suvidha Kendras, in every Customs station manned by custom officers to cater to following functions/ roles which are clarified in Instruction No.09/2020 dated 05.06.2020-
Accept Bond or Bank Guarantee;
Carry out any other verifications that may be referred by Faceless Assessment Groups;
Defacing of documents/ permits licences, wherever required;
Debit of documents/ permits/ licences, wherever required; and
Other functions determined by the Commissioner to facilitate trade.
2) The Turant Suvidha Kendra is for facilitation of the trade in completing various formalities relating to the Customs procedures in the new regime of Faceless Assessment.
3) The details of functions, roles, location and timing of the Turant Suvidha Kendras shall be intimated by the local Customs administration to all stakeholders.
Members may kindly make a note of the above.