Zero-tolerance policy on Graft released by DGFT

The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has issued guidelines towards decreasing practices of corruption in the Department by announcing zero-tolerance policy on graft and some other highlights which are as follows:

• The DGFT has directed that, all queries/submissions must be made by email to the officer/staff member concerned. If physical submission of documents is necessary, the same should be done through speed post. In exceptional situations, the documents may be submitted at the receipt counter against a computerized acknowledgement. When absolutely necessary, meeting with the head of office or any Joint DGFT can be sought by the applicant.

• Barring some exceptions, no outsider will be allowed to enter the offices of the DGFT.

• The DGFT has instructed his offices to reply to all emails or other queries within 48 hours and dispose of all matters within the time limits laid down. The heads of offices must review all email replies to ensure timely disposal of the matter. All regional offices of the DGFT should put up online a list of all pending applications in all functional areas giving time duration of pendency.

• Emphasizing zero tolerance to corruption, the DGFT has reiterated highest standards of integrity must be maintained by all Government servants in discharge of their official duties. 

• Officers and staff with dubious reputation must be identified and placed on a watch list and closely monitored and kept in non-sensitive positions. Work rotation to avoid long tenures in sensitive positions must be ensured. Touts and middlemen who operate in the offices must be identified and reported so as to make them ‘persona non-grata' in the offices.

• The DGFT has sought the cooperation of the entire importer-exporter community to bring any improper activity to the knowledge of senior offices, including the DGFT and the vigilance apparatus. 

Will It Be Effective?

Though, the determination to weed out corruption deserves to be welcomed as a good start in the present scenario but the outcome of this decision is still to be seen in the longer term. It is necessary that the DGFT devises a way to find out how well these instructions play out in letter and spirit and take necessary action. It is essential to institute necessary mechanisms to build necessary confidence that legitimate claims will not be delayed or denied on flimsy grounds.

Otherwise, the claim about zero tolerance to corruption will sound hollow.

About DGFT

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) organisation is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is headed by Director General of Foreign Trade. Right from its inception till 1991, when liberalization in the economic policies of the Government took place, this organization has been essentially involved in the regulation and promotion of foreign trade through regulation. Keeping in line with liberalization and globalization and the overall objective of increasing of exports, DGFT has since been assigned the role of "facilitator". The shift was from prohibition and control of imports/exports to promotion and facilitation of exports/imports, keeping in view the interests of the country.

Organizational Set-up

This Directorate, with headquarters at New Delhi, is headed by the Director General of Foreign Trade. It is responsible for formulating and implementing the Foreign Trade Policy with the main objective of promoting India's exports. The DGFT also issues scrips/authorisation to exporters and monitors their corresponding obligations through a network of 36 regional offices.