The Central Excise Department spread over the entire country administers and collects the Central Excise duty.   The apex body that is responsible for the policy and formulation of connected rules is the Central Board of Excise and Customs headed by the Chairman which functions under the control of the Union Finance Ministry, Government of India.  There are more than 60,000 staff and Officers including more than 1,500 officers in Group ‘A’ level and more than 5000 Officers in Group ‘B’ level in the Department.  The Central Excise Officers  have also been entrusted with  the administration and collection of Service Tax, Additional Excise Duty in lieu of Sales Tax on goods of special importance and Additional Excise Duty on textiles and articles of textiles, various Cess like Beedi Workers Welfare Cess  etc., and the Customs Duty.  The Central Excise officers are also armed with NDPS Act in the suppression of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.  They have also been entrusted with the task of enforcing various allied enactments like the Foreign Trade Regulation Act, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, the COFEPOSA Act.   

This indirect taxation is administered through an enactment of the Central Government viz., the Central Excise Act 1944 and connected Rules which provide for levy, collection and enforcement of procedures.  The rates at which the excise duty is to be collected are stipulated in the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.  

Prior to 1889, the Salt, Abkari and Customs departments were together.  By the Madras Salt Act 1889, Salt and Abkari were organized under the Madras Salt department and it functioned from the Custom House at Madras.  The year 1924 crossed an important milestone when Salt revenue was separated from Salt and Abkari department of Madras Presidency.  A separate Salt department was carved out with Collector of Salt Revenue as the Head.  In 1926, by the Salt Amendment Act, the Madras Salt Department was transferred to Government of India.  This led to the modern day  Central Excise Department.  In 1930, silver was made an excisable commodity.  In 1934, steel, matches, sugar and mechanical lighters were brought under excise net.  A tariff Act was legislated in 1934 with elaborate procedures, rules and regulations for assessment, levy and collection of duty. 

The British Government constituted King’s Committee to study the feasibility of centralizing the administration of Central Excise under the Central Board of Revenue.  Mr. F.C. King was deputed by the British Government to study the feasibility.  The report of  Mr. F.C. King  is of historical importance , as it gave broad insight into the then existing system and guidelines to be followed  to centralize the administration of  Central Excise under the Government of India.  

  Due to compulsion of War finance, the Government had to mobilize additional resources have  took a bold decision and introduced excise levy on un-manufactured tobacco.  The advent of excise on tobacco led to mass recruitment of personnel to cover every nook and corner of the country.  The Madras Central Excise Collectorate in 1944 covered the whole of then Madras Presidency viz., from Vijayanagaram in the North to Kanyakumari in the South and from Madras in the East to South Canara in the West.  The Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 also came into existence subsequently. 

             The Board has set our Mission – “ Commitment and Strategy ”.  Similarly, the Board  has  formulated  ‘ Citizen’s Charter ‘.   

             In the All India level, the Central Excise Department  contributes the highest revenue to the Government.  The total excise duty collected  in 1921 amounted to Rs.2.85 crores for the whole of India whereas in 2001 it accounted for  Rs.71,837 crores which forms more than 50% of the total tax revenue of the Central Government. 

              The Chennai I, II, III, IV and Pondicherry Commissionerates realised excise duty of Rs.5,065.73 crores for 2002-2003 as against Rs. 4506.09 crores realized for 2001-2002  thereby showing an excess collection of Rs.559.64 crores evidencing  12.42 % growth rate.  Besides the Commissionerates realized Rs.340 crores from Service Tax.