Govt to prepare sectoral action plan within next 2 weeks to boost exports

Keen to take advantage of growing global demand and forecasts of faster rise in international trade in 2018-19, the government has decided to prepare sectoral action plan within the next two weeks to boost exports.


On Tuesday, during the first inter-ministerial meeting on sectoral export promotion strategy, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu asked officials from across ministries to prepare separate action plan on boosting exports of products being handled by their respective ministries and send it to the Department of Commerce within the next fortnight. The action plan will focus on short-term targets to boost outbound shipment of products, which are achievable within the next two months.


Apart from the two departments making up the commerce and industry ministry, this will apply to Ministries of Electronics and IT, Agriculture, Textiles, Petroleum, among others. Keen on boosting the manufacture of Indian defence equipment, the government has also asked the Department of Defence Production under the defence ministry to submit a plan to improve India’s export competitiveness in the sector.


Prabhu also announced that after submission, the findings of the plans will be discussed with export promotion councils, and exporters. A ‘Best Exporting Ministry/Dept. Award’ is planned as of now.


Official statistics reveal that the export spurt in 2017-18, whereby the country managed to achieve more than $300 billion worth of outbound trade after two years, was accompanies by a slowdown in export of labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, gems, and leather which have remained among India’s strengths. The NITI Aayog has suggested that expanding the basket of products and targeting newer export categories and markets is the need of the hour.


India’s share of exports continue to remain high in goods which are less traded and low in goods that are traded more in the world. The government has focused on sectors the export share of which in India’s total exports is less compared to the share of the sector in world exports, a senior official said.


On Tuesday, Prabhu said India has engaged with about 150 countries in the last few months to improve bilateral trade apart from creating a task force on special economic zones from where a sizable chunk of exports originate. He said the commerce ministry will tap the external affairs ministry to implement the action plans through India’s commercial missions abroad.


Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that while there has been a 10 per cent growth in goods exports in the current year, India’s share in global trade remained static at 1.7 per cent for merchandise exports and 3.4 per cent for services exports. She pointed out that inadequate focus on fast emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, and Asia continued to hold back trade growth.


The Centre has now set its eyes on district-level export plans.


Regional Authorities of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade have been assigned an enhanced role to liaise with state governments to speed up the process of creating their export strategies. Officers have also been asked to identify a few districts under their jurisdiction to assess and prepare a dossier on their export potential, according to the commerce department.


The EXIM Bank will also prepare an action plan to alleviate the financial difficulties being faced by exporters.

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