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FM Sitharaman inaugurates Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange System at land customs station on India-Bhutan border

Darjeeling: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday virtually inaugurated Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System (ICES) at Land Customs Station (LCS) Nagrakata and Kulkuli on India-Bhutan border during her visit to LCS Panitanki on India-Nepal Border in West Bengal.

During her visit to Panitanki, she was apprised regarding the role of customs in using advanced technology installed to deliver service in a cost and time-effective manner thus enhancing trade with our neighbouring nations. The Union finance minister also informed locals about the benefits of the Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System (ICES) which she launched virtually earlier in the day. Kulkuli land customs station in Alipurduar, and Nagrakata land customs station in Jalpaiguri are two different LCSs in West Bengal.

Sitharaman, at the land customs station. told people how the EDI System will help in tracking, monitoring and facilitating the bilateral trade happening between India and its neighbouring countries at LCS Nagrakata and Kulkuli. "Such systems are being deployed all across the country," she said.

Panitanki LCS, one of the major India-Nepal cross-border trade route, was established in 1978 at Panitanki-Kakarvitta border route for bilateral trade between India and Nepal and also for international trade of Nepal with third countries using transit route through India. It has witnessed significant increase of overall trade volume with 21 per cent increase in number of trade vehicles, and 175 per cent increase in revenue collection during the current year (2022-23) in comparison to the previous year (2021-22), according to a tweet from the official handle of the Union minister.

The Indian Customs EDI System (ICES) is designed to exchange/transact customs clearance-related information electronically using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). A large number of documents that trade, transport and regulatory agencies (collectively called Trading Partners) are required to submit or receive in the process of live customs clearance are now being processed online.

ICES is now operational at 252 major customs locations handling nearly 98 per cent of India's International trade in terms of import and export consignments, according to Indian Customs EDI System website. (ANI)

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