ACES: Basics

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What it is…
Automation of Central Excise & Service Tax, online workflow and Internet-based process for departmental officers and the assessees.

CBEC offices, Banks, Assessees, BSNL (Communication), TCS (Authentication for access), Hp (IT Hardware) and Wipro (Software Applications)

Project Launched
2008-09 for pilot  and 2009-10 for other locations

How it works- About Hardware: Central Hardware
Servers for Database, Authentication, Applications, back-up data, disaster recovery centre, etc. are installed in New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai, so that when one of the locations has communication breakdown or human failure or natural disasters, the other locations can continue to work and store the data.

User’s Hardware
The user in various locations are provided with small hardware known as Thin Clients (because they do not have Hard-Disk or Storage media and are cheaper than normal desktop PC).

Connectivity / Communication /

The Thin clients (TC) are connected to the Delhi Server through an exclusive public line of BSNL backed-up by another line of ISDN. Using a special software, ordinary broadband connection is also used by Range Offices to access the above server. All the Thin clients are supplied power from high end UPS backed by DG sets.

Central Data Storage
One can store some files upto a size of only 100 MB in one’s allotted space at the Delhi Server and all the common workflow documents are stored separately.

Types/Quantity of hardware allotted
IT Hardware allotted to each formation is as follows:
Commissioner Office : 30 Thin Clients
Divisional Office: 7 TC
Range Office : 2 TC

Process Output - Printers
Each Building is supplied with 1 to 3 network printers which can cater to the needs of all the networked Thin Clients. However, print-outs are required to be taken only if absolutely necessary, as all the materials are retrievable at any time from anywhere irrespective of locations, of course, according to the rights and permissions granted to each one.

Maintenance Agency
All hardware are maintained by M/s. HP India Sales Ltd., Bangalore. It has appointed individual AMC engineers to all the Commissionerate Hqrs. Their franchised contractors take care of local Divisions/Ranges.

Book Complaints:
For all hardware related problems, office has to call toll free phone: 1800 425 4994  or send mail to : nightdesk.bangalore@hp.com . M/s.HP will store in future certain components in the Commissionerates for emergency use/replacement.

Users can also use the “Service Desk” Software application available within the ACES platform after long-in, to book complaints relating to both hardware and software.

Accessibility to Data Server

Log-in Problems:
Every one is assigned an SSO-ID (single sign-on ID, meaning that one need not log-in separately for each of the Application Programme, though it   requires a separate log-in to ensure security and  tracking the access of individuals).

This SSO-ID is permanent for every employee until his superannuation, irrespective of the location he is working in.

This SSO_ID allotting work is assigned to M/s. TCS.
All correspondence related to this needs to be sent to si.helpdesk@icegate.gov.in  or to toll free phone: 1800 266 2232

Management of HR (user-officers)
A Commissionerate System Administrator (viz. Comm-Admin) is assigned authorization for overall administrative regulation and facilitation to create roles (posts), role-groups (more than one post for an individual) and activities (area of work like Regn., Refund, Adjudication, Audit, etc or section/formation) for a given jurisdiction in respect of each officer.
The flow of documents from one officer to other officer is routed by the Comm-Admin.
Comm-Admin of each Commissionerate are headed by the HQ-Admin at Chennai Systems Directorate.

Software and Office Applications offered in Aces
ACES  system consists of three programs:
  1. ACES applications for online workflow
  2. Normal, Office Correspondence/reporting software, viz. Open Office / Star Office (non-ACES)
  3. Internet Browser for accessing the ACES applications and for browsing the permitted websites and for E-Mailing.

E-Mail addresses for official communication
All officers, except some late enrollments, are assigned with official e-mail id which ends with the domain name “@icegate.gov.in”, like yahoomail.com or gmail.com.

All official electronic correspondences are supposed to be sent through this id only.
Moreover, whenever a workflow is completed or pending, such status is communicated to individual officer’s email id soon after completion of workflow in a parallel communication to all the users concerned.

ACES Application Modules / Program
There are 8 modules to work in, which are inter-related, viz.
E-Filing Returns(RET),
Permissions/Intimations (CLI),
Adjudication Procedures(DSR),
Provisional Assessments(PRA),

How the Work starts
All the assessees (existing) are intimated of their user id through their e-mail id already recorded in the earlier software of the Dept. i.e. (SACER/SAPS of SERMON Program).

Assessee has to see the mail and register as a user in the ACES to avail electronic application/filing.

Any person or firm not already registered will have to directly access the website (www.aces.gov.in ) and register as a user after which he will apply in form A1/ST1 for C.Ex. or S.Tax statutory registration.

Workflow in Registration Module
As soon as the application is filed by the applicant, it reaches AC’s Mail box (Dashboard) in the case of C.Ex. or the Range Officer in the case of S.Tax. AC marks it for the concerned Range Officer directing to undertake the Physical Verification. RO fixes an appointment with the applicant for the same and then completes and reports back to AC. Then RC is generated and viewed and then transmitted to applicant, followed by physical issue of signed RC.

Similar procedure is followed for amendment of RC. When RC is surrendered, the system verifies all the account types of the assessee (like PLA, Cenvat, Bond Account, Refund Account, Demand Account, etc.) and if there is any debit entry, it does not allow surrender.

In the case of centralized registration, the workflow reaches to the Commissioner through the Joint Commissioner.

Workflow in Return Module
Returns filed by assessee reaches the mail box of the Range Officer. RO will conduct scrutiny on the screen itself as required by the existing scrutiny instructions; RO can modify the Return if errors are found, in consultation with the assessee ; however such modified Return will be stored as such and the original Return will not get modified.

Corrected Returns reach the screen of AC who can either accept or modify or return the same. Nil returns are not sent for scrutiny. System analyses the Return against various ratios/trends and then identify a risky return which may be marked for audit. Thus the workflow for Audit wing is triggered by system.

Workflow in Refunds Module
Assessee can file online the claim for refund or rebate. The RO can also capture the same from his screen, if not done online by assessee. Claim reaches the screen of AC who then calls for a scrutiny report from RO. After receipt of scrutiny, AC orders issue of SCN from the other module known as DSR, followed by reply and PH formalities. Without PH, AC can allow the claim, if eligible or else follow the adjudication procedure to reject the claim. Refund order and the Cheque details are also posted online, which is sent as mail to the assessee. Presently, only the prescribed formats are covered in the online workflow, while attached documents like bills, ARE, SB, etc. need not be captured online.

If the claim amount is more than Rs.5 lakhs, the claim with all reports will reach the Audit section for pre-audit in which case the file reaches the Joint Commissioner.

Workflow in CLI Module
CLI stands for Claims and Intimations requiring permissions or acknowledgements for about 13 items of procedures like intimation of invoice details before use of the same, obtaining of goods under concessional rate of duty, import of goods for use in exports, removal of goods without duty to other premises, etc.,
Here also, according to the delegated power of execution, the workflow passes from one officer to other.

Workflow in DSR Module
DSR stands for Dispute Settlement and Resolution representing the work generated in the adjudication and R&T sections. Presently, the work relating to filing of appeals with Commissioner Appeals is integrated in this module.
It is noticeable here that the work starts or is triggered from within the Dept.  unlike in the case of Registration or Returns or Refunds or CLI modules where it is initiated by the assessee.

This module is not yet widely used in any Commissionerate except very few like LTU and pilot Commissionerates.

Workflow in PRA Module
PRA stands for Provisional Assessment. Assessee can opt to file an application for prov. assessment. Prov. Assessment is ordered by the AC and thereafter the bond - though executed offline - is captured online by the Range Officer. Finalisation of the assessment is also as per the existing procedure including coverage of workflow under DSR module.

Workflow in Export module
This module is not yet in vogue widely. It starts from the filing of ARE application for exports by the assessee and captures all transactions thereafter including automatic clearance of proof of export in concurrent verification with shipping bills or other documents under customs formalities that are captured under different software known as ICES.

This ICES and ACES is expected to get integrated in due course.

Workflow in Audit module
This is a module for which the trigger aspect emanates from Dept. side only; it consists of complete workflow starting from Planning of Audit to finalization of paras/findings. This module also is not yet implemented widely and training has not been given

Reporting Module
Currently, some few basic reports required for Statistics Section are sourced from this report module, like Budget Head wise Revenue Report. Most of the statistical data on revenue or other performance in key areas are not yet provided in this report module. The same is being programmed as MIS reports (Reports under Management Information System), by the Application Software Vendor and may be released at a later date.


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