Circular No. 26/ 2016 – Customs
Sub: – Form of application for a Licence under Public Warehousing Licensing Regulations, 2016 / Private Warehousing Regulations, 2016 / Special Warehousing Regulations, 2016.
Upon the notification of Public Warehousing Licensing Regulations, 2016 / Private Warehouse Licensing Regulations, 2016 / Special Warehouse Licensing Regulations, 2016, a need has been felt to review the process of application for a warehouse licence and the form used for the same. For the purpose of certainty in providing information by applicants and transparency in procedure regarding processing of applications, the Board has prescribed the Form (annexed) to be used by an applicant seeking a licence for a bonded warehouse.
This application form has been prescribed for use by applicants for new warehouses to be licensed and is not required to be filed by existing licensees covered under the transitional provisions provided in the Regulations for licensing of warehouses or the Warehouse (Custody & Handling) Regulations, 2016.
The form has been designed in a manner so as to also serve as a check list for obtaining information relevant for evaluation of the applicant at one go and ascertaining the facilities for security of goods available at the proposed site (serial no. 7 & 8 of Part II of the form refers). This information is expected to enable a comprehensive assessment of the applicant and of the premises by the licensing authority. However, it may be borne in mind that warehouses vary widely in characteristics and type of goods stored. Absence of certain features (for example, absence of CCTVs or burglar alarms in case of certain types of sites) shall be acceptable in some situations. It is, therefore, expected that the Licensing authorities shall exercise their good judgement viz. a viz. the security features installed by the licensee by keeping in mind the type of site and nature of goods proposed to be stored.
3.1 The prescribed application form should be made available on the website of the Commissionerates for the ease of reference by trade.
- The Board has desired that all Commissionerates shall undertake to examine and complete the process of granting a licence within 30 days of the receipt of the application. The Bond officer must complete the process of examining the application, visiting the premises to be licensed and submitting his report to the Principal Commissioner / Commissioner within 15 days of the receipt of the application. The approval or rejection of the application by the Licensing Authority (Principal Commissioner / Commissioner) should be completed within the next 15 days.
4.1 The Board has taken cognizance of the fact that in the absence of standard operating procedures for antecedent verification of the applicant, varied practices have been followed by Commissionerates. In some Commissionerates, verification is conducted by limiting inquiries to their jurisdiction, while in others, references are made across jurisdictions. The delays in receiving responses from formations to whom references are made for verification often leads to applications being kept pending for long periods. In view of the Government’s emphasis on a trust based tax administration, it has been decided to incorporate relevant declarations required from the applicant, in the form itself, on the basis of which the application for a license can be processed. With specific regard to serial number 5 of the “Declaration” in the application form, a system of post verification can be followed. It is also proposed that a centralized system of verification be followed by referring the name of the applicant and Directors/Partners/Proprietor to DRI (HQ) and DGCEI (HQ) for checking antecedents and the existence of any past cases, instead of referring to all formations. This system will ensure that adhering to time limits in processing of applications becomes feasible.
- After completion of the process envisaged under the first Para of regulation 4 of the Licensing Regulations, the applicant should be intimated regarding a decision to grant him a license or not. Upon being intimated that it is proposed to license the warehouse, the applicant shall provide the documents and complete the process under Regulation 4(a) to (d). Thereafter, the Principal Commissioner / Commissioner shall grant the license for the warehouse.
- The License granted under the regulations shall remain valid till its surrender / cancellation. Henceforth, there shall be no requirement for renewal of warehousing license on annual basis.
- In case of licenses issued earlier to the notification of Licensing Regulations on 14th May 2016, the requirement of annual renewal is dispensed. All warehouses appointed under the erstwhile section 57 or licensed under erstwhile section 58 shall be deemed to remain valid till their surrender / cancellation, once the conditions under the new regulations have been complied.
- Since the licensee is required to renew the insurance policy annually and continue to comply with solvency conditions (as applicable), the same shall be required to be submitted annually.
Source: CBEC/DGFT, Min of Finance, Govt. of India
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