Indian Customs EDI Gateway (ICEGATE) is the gateway for the users of Indian Customs EDI system. All the Individuals (Importers/Exporters/CHAs/Airlines/Shipping Lines/Shipping Agents etc.), trade partners (Banks/Custodians/PQIS/FSSAI etc.) or Govt. Agencies (Ministry of Commerce/DGCI&S/DG, Valuation/DGFT/CRIS/CONCOR/Ministry of Steel etc.) Connect ICEGATE for documents filing (BE/SB/IGM/EGM/CGM etc.), data sharing under Customs Business Process (several information shared through messages with the help of Server to Server SFTP communication system) or for administrative, statistical, analytical or policy making purpose through SFTP in automated environment. It provides Remote EDI Services (RES) to the trade and industry for filing documents, data exchange, e-payment, status enquiry, document tracking, query-reply etc.
In recent past, ICEGATE has been observing challenges on account of impersonation of Identity of the registered user, tracing the identity of user, misuses of credibility of accredited clients etc. Further, Sec. 5 if the IT Act, 2000 envisages that the electronic documents, which are supposed to be signed by a person in case it is filed in a hard copy, must be singed digitally by the person authorized to sing it. Hence data exchange and acceptability of documents received through RES has imminent need to implement digital signature for the documents/ messages receiving / forwarding electronic to and fro the customs business partners, stakeholders and other Govt. Agencies. Further, demand from the trade and industry, several associations and other Ministries have been received for making Customs EDI business process paperless.
To overcome the aforesaid challenges implementation of Digital Signature Certificate at ICEGATE is very important. It shall authenticate the identity, maintain users and data related integrity, support non-repudiation and prevent frauds. We may subsequently stop giving print to the importers/CHA/Exporter and provide digitally signed electronic copy only. This would inter-alia help in saving forests at a large level and increase trust in system.
ICEGATE receives inbound documents from various individual users like importers, Exporters, CHA etc. and send outbound messages to various agencies like DGFT, DGCI&S, PQIS, FSSAI etc. The framework of Digital Signature in automated environment of ICEGATE is different from other normal framework, so keeping in view workflow and specific functionalities of ICEGATE it was required to create specific architecture of Digital Certificate implementation. It was also required to have a DSC which could be operated in automated environment without any interference of human being.
The normal Digital Signature issued on the name of an individual was not function for outbound messages which are send by ICEGATE system. Considering the unique requirement of ICEGATE system Controller of Certifying Authority(CCA) introduced a new type of Digital Certificate with name " Organization Document Signer Certificate" in September,2014. The implementation of DSC was planned in phased manner.
The implementation of Digital Signature is ICEGATE has been envisaged in following two phases:
The following are the key benefits of implementing digital signature for ICEGATE inbound messages: