Customs, Central Excise and Central Goods & Services Tax
An Overview *


Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Customs employees are concerned with the collection, administration and policy formulation of indirect taxes in India, i.e. central excise duty, customs duty  and goods & services tax. Central Excise duty is a tax on the act of manufacture or production of goods. To levy Central Excise duty, it is necessary that a new article shall come into existence as a result of the manufacturing activity. Excise is collected on the goods manufactured or produced at the time of their removal from the factory for administrative convenience. Central excise duties on goods except tobacco; manufactured tobacco substitutes; mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes, have been subsumed in the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) after the introduction of GST w.e.f. 01-07-2017. Customs duty, on the other hand, is a tax on the goods imported into or exported out of the country. Customs duty is levied on the goods at the rates specified and the taxable event is the import into or export from India. In fact customs officers control the economic frontiers of the country both in the factual and the figurative sense. In addition these officers do border control services by regulating the import and export of goods and services in and out of the country. They work under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)  constituted under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963 (54 of 1963)  in the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance. Presently there are three classes of employees, i.e. Group ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.

Departments and Directorates under CBIC

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is assisted in its functions by the following Departments, Directorates, etc.:

Sr. No. Name of the Other Departments
1. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau
2. Narcotics Commissioner of India
3. Chief Controller of Factories
4. Directorate of Enforcement
5. Financial Intelligence Unit - India
6. Appellate Tribunal
7. Principal Chief Controller of Accounts
8. Office of the Goods and Services Tax Council
9. Office of the Principal Commissioner (Review Applications)
10. Narcotics Control Bureau
11. Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal
12. Chief Commissioner (Authorised Representative)
13. Settlement Commission
14. Authority for Advance Rulings
Sr. No. Name of the Directorates
1. Directorate of Data Management
2. Directorate of International Customs
3. Directorate of Logistics
4. Directorate of Legal Affairs
5. Directorate of Central Revenues Control Laboratory

Other Field Formations

Zones of Customs, Customs (Preventive) and Central Goods and Services Tax : There are 21 zones of Central Goods and Services Tax and 11 zones of Customs & Customs (Preventive) spread across the country. These zones are headed by the Principal Chief Commissioners or the Chief Commissioners.

Commissionerates of Central Goods and Services Tax, Customs, Customs (Preventive), Appeals and Audit : There are 205 Central Goods and Services Tax (including audit & appeals) Commissionerates performing executive functions predominantly concerning to collection of central goods and services tax. There are 56 Commissionerates of Customs and Customs (Preventive) (including appeals) implementing the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and the allied acts, which includes levy and collection of customs duties, surveillance of coastal and land borders to prevent smuggling activities. These Commissionerates are headed by the Principal Commissioners or the Commissioners.

Major Statutes Enforced

A customs or excise or goods and services tax officer is required to administer many Central Laws and Statutes. Some of the more important statutes to implement/enforce include :

S. No. Name of the Statute
1. The Customs Act, 1962
2. The Central Excise Act, 1944
3. The Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017
4. The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017
5. The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017
6. The Customs Tariff Act, 1975
7. The Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985
8. The Central Board of Revenue Act, 1962
9. The Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1931
10. The Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992
11. The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
12. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
13. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
14. The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988
15. The Smuggling and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1975
16. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
17. The Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954
18. The Arms Act, 1959
19. The Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958
20. The Trade Marks Act, 1999
21. The Patents Act, 1970
22. The Designs Act, 2000
23. The Copyright Act, 1957
24. The Territorial Waters (Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zones ) Act, 1976
25. The Agricultural Produce (CESS) Act, 1940
26. The Agricultural Produce (Marketing & Grading) Act, 1937
27. Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904
28. The Information Technology Act, 2000
29. The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976
30. The Essential Commodities Act, 1958
31. The Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 1986
32. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
33. The Export (Quality Control & Inspection) Act, 1963
34. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
35. The Environment Protection Act, 1986
36. The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
37. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980
38. The Indian Forest Act, 1927
39. The Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1973
40. The Livestock Importation Act, 1968
41. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972
42. The Coal Mines (Conservation & Development) Act, 1974
43. The Indian Ports Act, 1908
44. The Major Port Trusts Act, 1963
45. The Coast Guard Act, 1978
46. The Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1958
47. The Coasting Vessels Act, 1838
48. The Indian Light House Act, 1927
49. The Atomic Energy Act, 1962
50. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
51. The Insecticide Act, 1968
52. The Cinematograph Act, 1952
53. The Indian Post Office Act, 1898
54. The Stamps Act, 1899
55. The Indian Telegraph Act, 1882
56. The Wireless Communication Act, 1933
57. The Coir Industries Act, 1953
58. The Court Fees Act, 1970
59. The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
60. The Indian Penal Code, 1860
61. The Destructive Insects and Pests Act, 1914
62. The Income Tax Act, 1961
63. The Indian Coffee Act, 1942
64. The Indian Cotton Cess Act, 1923
65. The Indian Explosives Act, 1884
66. The Iron Ore Mines and Manganese Ore Mines and Chrome Ore Mines Labour Welfare Cess Act, 1976
67. The Mineral Products (Additional Duties of Excise & Customs) Act, 1951
68. The Petroleum Act, 1933
69. The Procedure Cess Act, 1966
70. The Rubber Act, 1947
71. The Tea Act, 1953

International Conventions

Indian Customs as a member of the World Customs Organization is required to enforce the provisions of many International Conventions. Some WCO Conventions to which India has acceded are:

S. No. Name of the Convention
1. The Customs Convention on temporary importation of scientific equipments - 9th March, 1971
2. The Customs Convention on temporary importation of pedagogic material - 4th December, 1973
3. The Kyoto Convention, 1974 - 18th October, 1976
4. The Nairobi Convention - 9th June, 1977
5. The Harmonized System Convention - 23rd June, 1986
6. The Customs Convention concerning facilities for importation of goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings etc. - 20th June, 1988
7. The Nairobi Convention - 20th June, 1988
8. The ATA Convention - 5th July, 1989
9. The Agreement on Customs Valuation - 30th December, 1994
10. The Johannesburg Convention - 23rd June, 2005
11. The Revised Kyoto Convention - Nov 2005
12. The CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Recruitment and Selection

Selection to the Group ‘A’ service (IRS) is through the Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) through a three-stage combined selection process (a preliminary and a main written examination followed by interview/personality test) common for all the Group ‘A’ posts (IAS, IFS, IPS, etc.) called the Civil Services Examination.

Recruitment to most of the Group ‘B’ service is conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) through a three-stage selection process namely the Combined Graduate Level Examination.

 Minimum physical standards  are also prescribed for each category of posts.

Group ‘C’ employees are also recruited by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) through separate competitive examinations conducted on an yearly basis.

Selection to Group ‘D’ posts were being done locally at the Commissionerate level. Sixth Central Pay Commission (SCPC) had recommended to stop this recruitment and to upgrade all the existing Group ‘D’ employees to Group ‘C’. This proposal has also been accepted by the Governemnt.

Pay Band & Grade Pay (after the 6th CPC)

Name of Post Pay Band Grade Pay Recruitment
Chairman, CBIC 80,000/- (Fixed) - Deputation/ Absorption
Member, CBIC 80,000/- (Fixed) - Deputation/ Absorption
Principal Chief Commissioner/ Principal Director General 80,000/- (Fixed) - Promotion
Chief Commissioner/ Director General  HAG+ - Promotion
Principal Commissioner/ Principal Additional Director General HAG - Promotion
Commissioner/ Additional Director General/ Joint Secretary PB 4 Rs. 10,000/- Promotion
Additional Commissioner/ Additional Director/ Director PB 4 Rs. 8,700/- Promotion
Joint Commissioner/ Joint Director/ Deputy Secretary/ Sr PPS PB 3 Rs. 7,600/- Promotion
Deputy Commissioner/ Deputy Director/ Under Secretary/ PPS  PB 3 Rs. 6,600/- Promotion
Assistant Commissioner/ Assistant Director /CAO PB 3 Rs. 5,400/- Direct/ Promotion
Superintendent/ Appraiser/ Section Officer 
(4 Years Service)
PB 2 Rs. 5,400/- Spl. Grade
Superintendent/ Appraiser/ SPS/ Section Officer PB 2 Rs. 4,800/- Promotion
Inspector of Central Goods and Services Tax/ Preventive Officer/ Examiner/ PS/ AO) PB 2 Rs. 4,600/- Direct/ Promotion
Executive Assistant/ Steno Gr.I PB 2 Rs. 4,200/- Promotion
Tax Assistant/ Steno Gr.II  PB 1 Rs. 2,400/- Promotion
LDC PB 1 Rs. 1,900/- Direct
Multi Tasking Staff PB 1 Rs. 1,800/- Direct

PB 1 = Rs. 5,200/- - 20,200/-
PB 2 = Rs. 9,300/- - 34,800/-
PB 3 = Rs. 15,600/- - 39,100/-
PB 4 = Rs. 37,400/- - 67,000/-
HAG = Rs. 67,000/- - 79,000/-
HAG+ = Rs. 75,500/- - 80.000/-
All the posts carry the usual DA, HRA, TA, etc.

Sanctioned Strength of IRS

Sanctioned Strength of IRS Officers as on 18-12-2013

Name of Post Sanctioned Strength
Chairman, CBIC 1
Member, CBIC 6
Principal Chief Commissioner/ Principal Director General 14
Chief Commissioner/ Director General 38
Principal Commissioner/ Principal Additional Director General/ Joint Secretary 100
Commissioner/ Additional Director General/ Joint Secretary 340
Additional/ Joint Commissioner/ Additional/ Joint Director 932
Deputy Commissioner/ Deputy Director 801
Assistant Commissioner/ Assistant Director 1249
(excluding 2118 temporary AC Posts)

Induction and Training

Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer Trainees (Probationers) undergo a 3 month foundational training with their fellow officers from the All India Services and other Central Services (Group ‘A’) at the Lal Bahadur National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussoorie (Uttarakhand). This is followed by a 15 month rigorous professional training at the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN), Faridabad or Mumbai, where they are intensively trained in principles, concepts and advances in Management, Taxation, Public Policy and Law. Departmental examinations  are also conducted by NACIN for the assessment of their suitability.

All other officers, i.e., in the Group 'B' and 'C' cadres, are given on the job training and induction course at the Regional Centers of NACIN once they are appointed at various Commissionerates of Customs, Central Goods and Services Tax. Departmental examinations, under an approved syllabus  and schedule, are also held on a half yearly basis before these officers are confirmed in their respective service.

Promotion Prospects

The officers joining in Group ‘A’ are posted as Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Central Goods and Services Tax, as the case may be. They get promoted upto the level of Principal Chief Commissioner/ Principal Director General. The post of Member and Chairman of the CBIC are now ex-cadre posts and appointments to these posts are done on a selection basis and not on promotion.

The officers in Group ‘B’ (non-Gazetted) are posted as Inspector Central Goods and Services Tax, Preventive Officer or Examiner. They get their promotion to the next level Group ‘B’ (Gazetted), i.e. Superintendent of Central Goods and Services Tax, Superintendent of Customs or Appraiser, as the case may be. Promotion to Group 'B' (Gazetted) post is purely on the basis of seniority and fitness. The next higher post for all these three grades is the Assistant Commissioner in Group ‘A’.

Similarly, in Group ‘C’ entry level officer is the Tax Assistant (TA) and the next higher level here is the Executive Assistant (EA). Tax Assistants are promoted to the post of Inspector Central Goods and Services Tax, Preventive Officer or Examiner, as per their option, considering the seniority and merit. Departmental Examinations, under an approved syllabus  and schedule, are conducted for promotion from these posts on a regular basis by the NACIN.

Deputation Postings

The officers of the Customs, Central Goods and Services Tax are also deputed to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Special Economic Zones (SEZ), International Airports, etc. apart from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of External Affairs.


In this era of liberalization and globalization, this department also has started modernising itself to meet the challenges arising out of multi-dimensional expansion of the world economy and has adapted itself to the changing contours of the economy. The actual focus is on the creation of a trade friendly service which can combat the evils of tax-evasion and smuggling in a painless manner. Though the pay and allowances in these services are lower compared to the private sector, the sense of satisfaction comes from directly contributing to the development of the country, as 50% of the Government revenue comes from indirect taxes collected by these officers. The service needs bright, young, honest, and dedicated people with a high sense of morality, integrity and love for the nation who can readily adapt to challenges in India's economic framework in the process of liberalization and globalization.
* The details provided here is intended to guide the new recruits only.