In the wake of liberalisation of the Indian economy and the consequen­tial emphasis on exports, it has become necessary to modernise the logistical edge to the extent possible. The government has therefore identified the use of EDI and EC as one of high priority in trade facilitation.

Sectoral EDI implementation review meetings with all the trade regu­lating and facilitating agencies like banks, customs, airports, ports, VAN’s service providers and education and awareness spreading institutions are regularly being organised to ensure the switching over to electronic com­merce and integration of these agencies with their associated community partners.

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The various technical and management issues raised during these meeting are taken up with concerned departments.

The report of the committee for process reengineering constituted to study the current processes as well as work flow and information flow of trade processes so as to streamline the procedures to reduce the time in interna­tional trade transactions by simplifying the procedures, has been finalised and being adopted by the concerned departments.

In order to highlight the capabilities of electronic commerce and electronic data interchange, the Ministry of Commerce organised EDICON ’98, a confer­ence and exhibition on EDI/EC during May 28-30, 1998.

The theme of EDICON ’98 was “Trade Facilitation through Electronic Commerce.” A similar confer­ence is planned to be held every year. The event was a great success and was attended by around 500 participants.

During the EDICON’98, a special ses­sion was organised for CEO’s of top Indian companies to stress the urgent need for adoption of EC/EDI tools by Indian companies to be competitive. The ses­sion was well received by industries and was attended by around 150 CEO’s.

In order to create an awareness and education on EDI, four organisations have been selected by the Ministry of Commerce-National Informatics Centre (NIC), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), All India Management Association (AIMA), and Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

These organisations have standardised course contents for short-term as well as long-term programmes for different levels.

In order to overcome the constraints of legal barriers like admissibility of EDI/EC generated documents/contracts and its acceptability as primary evi­dence in a Court, it has been decided to formalise the amendments required in various Acts of Indian Laws.

A legal committee was formed to suggest changes needed in various Acts of Indian Laws. A draft model law has since been sent to the Legislative Department for examination and adoption.