Union minister of commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday called upon the export promotion councils (EPCs) in the country to take active interest in promoting exports, without which, she said, the country's foreign trade would not progress.
At a meeting with the chairpersons of EPCs to review the current trend of exports from India and to take stock of issues faced by the exporters, the minister urged the agencies to take pro-active steps to push exports from the country.
Addressing concerns expressed by the EPCs, the minister "urged the councils to be more pro-active on behalf of exporters", a commerce ministry statement said here.
At the meeting held to review the current trend of exports from India and take stock of issues faced by the exporters, as many as 14 EPCs participated, the statement said.
This is the commerce minister's second such meeting with the councils (first meeting was held on 2 February 2016).
While the export promotions were of the view that in terms of volumes, most of the commodities have shown resilience and have maintained the levels achieved in the previous fiscal 2014-15, however, keeping in view the various initiatives taken by the government recently and global factors, there was feeling that exports should increase.
The export organisations welcomed government initiatives such as interest equalisation scheme (IES), MEIS, etc for supporting exports. However, the EPCs sought government support on some of the issues such as interest subvention for gem and jewellery sector, increase in merchandise export incentives under MEIS, inclusion of merchant exporters under IES, promotion of Brand India on consistent basis, more incentives for project exports, mobilising support of Indian missions to exporters.
Each of the participating organisations conveyed their specific issues relating to the sector and support required from the government for improving manufacturing related to exports.
The minister appreciated the various concerns expressed by the EPCs and urged them to be more pro-active on behalf of exporters and approach the ministry on day-to-day basis highlighting the issues. The progressive steps taken by DGFT were highlighted.
She also said that the issues relating to ministry of external affairs and department of revenue would be taken up by the department of commerce.
The EPCs were advised to interact with their members constantly and cooperate with the Department to take the policy interventions introduced from time to time to the grass root level, to achieve the policy objectives.
Meanwhile, it was noted that the Department of Commerce has to work under certain limitations of funds and policy, but at the same time, it was assured that full cooperation would be provided to the EPCs.