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August 3, 2020

CBIC launches e-Office application to automate file handling

by Mahesh Mara in GST

CBIC launches e-Office application to automate internal file handling

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Custom (CBIC) on 15th June, 2020, launched the e-Office application in over 500 GST and Customs offices pan India. Over 50,000 officers and staff will use this application, making CBIC one of the largest Government departments to automate its internal office procedures. This office intends to facilitate a ‘Faceless, Contactless and Paperless’ indirect Tax administration.

The e-Office application was launched remotely in the presence of over 800 senior officers of CBIC by Chairman Ajit Kumar. The e-Office application is developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and is supported by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). The e-Office application’s main module, eFile, enables on-line file related work, starting from receiving and marking dak, operating a file, preparing a draft letter, its approval/signature and dispatch of the signed letter.

Benefits to accrue due to E-office

  • E-Office aims to improve governance by automating the internal processes of handling files and taking decisions within Government.
  • The use of e-Office by the rank and file of the GST and Customs officers in their day to day work would lead to speedier decision making, transparency, accountability, and positive impact on the environment by cutting down the use of paper and printing
  • In the present-day challenging situation arising due to COVID-19, the e-Office would help avoid contact with physical files, thereby preventing possible transmission of coronavirus. 
  • It would ensure enhanced security as no file or document can be altered or destroyed or backdated.
  • An in-built monitoring mechanism would identify where the files are held up enabling quick disposal and faster decision making.
  • E-Office would complement CBIC’s many other IT-led reforms which are directly aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business for the trade and industry.

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CBIC also recently introduced Electronic Communication of PDF based copies of Shipping Bills & E- Gate Pass

In its continuing endeavor to promote ‘Faceless, Contactless, Paperless Customs’ the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has decided to rely upon digital copies of the Shipping Bill and do away with the requirement of taking bulky printouts from the Service Centre or maintenance of voluminous physical dockets in the Custom Houses.

This reform will yield immense benefits in terms of saving the time and cost of compliance for the trade, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business, while providing enhanced security features for verification of authenticity and validity of the electronic document.

CBIC directed that w.e.f 22.06.2020 only the digital copy of the Shipping Bill bearing the Final LEO would be electronically transmitted to the exporter and the present practice of printing copies of the said document for the exporters and also for maintaining a docket in the Customs House would stand discontinued.

The launch of e-Office marks a fundamental change in internal office procedures which is so far based on manual handling of files and paper movement.

The launch of e-Office is one more measure taken by the CBIC in leveraging technology for providing a faceless, contactless and paperless indirect tax administration. Taxpayers are also encouraged to mention their mobile number and email in their communications to facilitate immediate acknowledgement by mail and SMS through the application.

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