Last week, on the occasion of the International Customs Day, the Indian Customs dedicated the year 2011 to knowledge, a catalyst for Customs excellence, in consonance with the World Customs Organisations theme of the year. The chairman of the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) urged all personnel in the department to re-dedicate themselves to the principles of excellence in tax enforcement, trade facilitation and taxpayer services and thereby contribute to nation building.
In his message, the revenue secretary stressed the need for introspection and assessment to see how best the Customs could utilise domain knowledge and build expertise for better performance, with the aim of providing the trading community better services in a transparent, equitable and fair manner. The member (Customs) of the CBEC specifically aired his expectation that a number of new initiatives would be implemented for creating and compiling knowledge and sharing these with stakeholders through web-based and other useful tools of communication. The minister of state for finance also stressed the need for dissemination of knowledge, besides its acquisition, consolidation and management.
In all these messages, sharing knowledge with stakeholders is a common theme. In what way does the CBEC propose to take this process forward?
The CBEC does have useful e-governance initiatives. Its website does give a lot of useful information. However, if a comparison is made between private websites like eximkey.com or taxindiaonline.com, the scope for significantly improving the content becomes apparent. For example, eximkey.com gives the latest texts of notifications giving reference at the relevant portions to the amendments. It also gives several cross-references that make it easier to analyse the provisions and the way the law has developed over the years. The website taxindiaonline.com gives several analyses and articles of excellent quality.