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    More exports sops likely, but $360 billion target difficult: Government

    Synopsis

    The Indian industry can look forward to certain ``policy announcements’’ that will help boost investments and exports, but the export target of $360 billion this fiscal remains elusive.

    The Indian industry can look forward to certain ``policy announcements’’ that will help boost investments and exports, but the export target of $360 billion this fiscal remains elusive.
    DELHI: The Indian industry can look forward to certain ``policy announcements’’ that will help boost investments and exports, but the export target of $360 billion this fiscal remains elusive, a top government official has said.

    "I am sure that the government is taking proactive steps. In the next 3-4 weeks, I expect significant policy announcements which should encourage our industry, our exports," commerce secretary S L Rao told reporters at the 3rd CII export summit on Tuesday.

    Rao was answering questions on whether the government was considering any measures following commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma’s meeting with representatives of the industry and export councils earlier this month on falling manufacturing growth and exports.

    India’s exports in the April-July 2012 period shrank 5.06% compared to the first four months of the previous fiscal largely owing to decline in demand in the EU and continued uncertainty in the US.

    Rao said global trade is shrinking and countries such as China, the US, Japan and Europe, which are the major export destinations for Indian exporters, are not showing signs of improvement.

    When asked whether India will be able to achieve the $ 360 billion exports target for this fiscal, the secretary said, "it is difficult".

    Commerce minister Anand Sharma had said that export performance was expected to improve in October when the effect of the incentive package announced in June this year would kick in.

    Exporters, however, have been making a case for more sops, especially coverage of more products and markets under the focus product and focus market schemes which offer cash incentives for exporting specific products and also to targetted markets.

    Exporters have also been demanding that the interest subvention scheme offering a 2% interest to certain labour intensive sectors be extended to more industries.

    "Both the demands are under serious consideration of the government. The commerce department is in consultation with the finance ministry on the matter," a government official told ET.

    The country’s rising trade deficit, which was $55.6 billion in the April-July period, was a matter of concern, the secretary said, adding that most of it was due to a very high import bill of hydrocarbons and people’s insatiable appetite for gold.
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