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FM launches EDI at remote Land Customs Stations in N-E States

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, MAR 01, 2024: UNION Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) at Land Customs Stations (LCS) of the North East Region (NER), via virtual mode in New Delhi yesterday. With these remote LCS getting EDI-enabled, the movement of goods and customs clearances will now become more efficient, thus enhancing regional trade and fostering economic growth.

The EDI launch was also attended by Sanjay Malhotra, Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC); Alok Shukla, Member (Admin & Vig), CBIC; Vivek Ranjan, Member (Tax Policy & Legal), CBIC; Surjit Bhujabal, Member (Customs), CBIC; Aruna Narayan Gupta, Member (IT & Tax Payer Services & Technology), CBIC; and senior officials of CBIC and Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for creating modern digital infrastructure and ensuring that the benefits of the digital revolution reach everyone, the Union Finance Minister, in her speech at Guwahati on 21st July, 2023, had commended the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) for converting the non-EDI LCS, mostly located in remote border areas of North and North-East India, into EDI-integrated LCS. She had exhorted the department to incorporate the rest of the functional LCS in NER into the EDI System.

During her address at the launch of EDI at Land Customs Stations in the North East region, Sitharaman called upon the CBIC and Customs to address the challenges faced by exports and stated that remote LCS getting EDI enabled is important as it will help in providing real-time data on the movement of goods.

The Union Finance Minister also called upon the Customs Department to be alert and vigilant while manning the post in sensitive border areas, especially in areas that are densely populated and vulnerable.

In his address on the occasion, Malhotra said, "The vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a developed country by 2047 involves creation of modern digital infrastructure and use of technology so as to ensure that benefits of digital revolution reach all the citizens. The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enablement of the customs stations is one such step in this direction in making tax system and the customs procedures 'faceless' and 'automated'."

"It is heartening to know that through this event, CBIC has brought the much needed focus on the development of North East India by enabling EDI at the land customs stations in these remotest parts of NER," Malhotra added.

In his welcome address on the occasion, Agarwal said that the North Eastern Region (NER) holds a high geostrategic significance and carries an immense trade potential as the Land Custom Stations (LCS) enable flow of trade and transit with neighbouring countries.

Agarwal further said that there are 44 LCSs in NER covering 7 States - Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The creation of physical infrastructure and automation of custom processes at the LCSs have always remained a priority of the Indian Customs.

While giving Vote of Thanks, Surjit Bhujabal, Member (Customs), said, "The launch of the EDI system today signifies a monumental step towards enhancing efficiency and promoting Ease of Doing Business in the remote locations of NER. This achievement underscores our firm commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of trade and commerce."

With a focus on harnessing technology for development of NER, the CBIC has completed the task of EDI enablement at the following LCS - Ghasuapara, Bholaganj, Shellabazar, Borsora, Khowaighat, Baghmara, Golakganj, Karimganj and Dawki along Indo-Bangladesh border and Zokhawthar along Indo-Myanmar border. These LCSs presented distinct challenges, situated in far-flung areas without Optical Fibre or Mobile Networks. CBIC overcame these obstacles by installing VSAT at several locations. The journey symbolizes not only the technical enhancement of Customs operations but also the commitment of CBIC towards nation's progress in Kartavya Kaal.


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