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India to conduct first-ever National Time Release Study. What is it?

This initiative will help India maintain the upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business, particularly on the Trading across Borders indicator
New Delhi: As part of its strategic commitment to improve global trade, the Department of Revenue, under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance, is conducting India’s first National Time Release Study (TRS) between August 1-7. The exercise will be institutionalised on an annual basis, during the same period every year hereafter. The TRS is an internationally recognised tool advocated by the World Customs Organisation to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of international trade flows.

But what is it?

This initiative for accountable governance will measure rule-based and procedural bottlenecks (including physical touchpoints) in the clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo. The aim is to identify and address bottlenecks in the trade flow process and take the corresponding policy and operational measures required to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures, without compromising efficient trade control. Expected beneficiaries of this initiative will be export-oriented industries and MSMEs, who will enjoy greater standardisation of Indian processes with comparable international standards.

Easing trade across borders

This initiative will help India maintain the upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business, particularly on the Trading Across Borders indicator which measures the efficiency of the cross border trade ecosystem. Last year India’s ranking on the indicator improved from 146 to 80.

The backdrop

Previously individual customs formations had been independently conducting TRS studies at the port level. The national TRS has taken this a step further and evolved a uniform, multi-dimensional methodology which measures the regulatory and logistics aspects of the cargo clearance process and establishes the average release time for goods. The exercise will be conducted at the same time across 15 ports including sea, air, land and dry ports which cumulatively account for 81 percent of total Bills of Entries for import and 67 percent of Shipping Bills for export filed within India. The national TRS will establish baseline performance measurement and have standardised operations and procedures across all ports.