Commerce minister keeps budget hopes of exporters alive

The government is taking necessary steps to help exporters tide over the fall in global demand and boost exports, union minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday.

Speaking to the media at a brief interaction with the media after her meeting with industry representatives in Coimbatore, Sitharaman said the decline in exports was because of the global economic contraction and the consequent fall in demand.

''The process of identifying the problems has been happening,'' she said without elaborating.

The government, she said, has been both incentivising exports by extending concessions on export-based performance and seeking new markets and products to push exports.

Meanwhile, the centre's decision to ban import of firecrackers has cheered local manufacturers at Sivakasi. Sitharaman said the manufacturers are a happier lot after the government's intervention to check the entry of Chinese firecrackers into the market.

''No licence is given for importing firecrackers and hence entry of foreign made firecrackers into the Indian market is illegal. Steps were taken to seize and destroy foreign-made firecrackers. The state governments too extended their cooperation. The drive will continue this year too,'' she said.

Later, the minister held an interaction with members of the BHEL Small and Medium Industries Association, Tiruchi District Tiny and Small Scale Industries' Association, and other industry representatives.

On the problems faced by ancillary units of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Tiruchi, especially in terms of procurement of components, Sitharaman said she would help take up the matter with the ministry concerned.

On the recent issue of the centre's decision to make submission of PAN card details mandatory for jewellery purchases above Rs2 lakh, Sitharaman said the move was intended to check black money and that it was for the finance ministry to take a call on the jewellers' demand for raising the limit to Rs10 lakh.