"To quicken the clearance of the cargo by customs authorities and further modernise the customs administration, I propose to introduce self-assessment in customs," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his Budget speech today.
Under the self-assessment, importers and exporters will themselves assess their duty liabilities while filing their declarations in the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system.
"The department will verify such assessments on a selective system driven basis," Mukherjee said.
Hailing the step, exporters body FIEO said that it would help in reducing transaction time.
"The move to allow self-assessment both for imports and exports will greatly reduce transaction time and cost," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ramu Deora said.
The government has recently announced several measures, including round-the-clock customs clearances, to reduce transaction costs in exports, which is estimated at $15 billion or 7-10% of the total exports.
The finance minister also proposed to soon introduce a scheme for the refund of service tax on the lines of drawback of duties in a more simplified and expeditious manner.
There have been considerable difficulties in the sanction of refunds relating to tax paid on services used for export of goods, he said.
On mega clusters, which have large employment and export potential, the minister proposed to extend the Mega Cluster Scheme for development of leather products.
Seven mega leather clusters would be set up during the year 2011-12, he said.
He also proposed to include Jodhpur for the development of a handicraft mega cluster.
Mukherjee also allowed duty-free import of some inputs used in the manufacture of leather and textile products for export purpose.