Govt cuts red tape, eases terms to perk up exports
In one more push to prop up sagging exports, the government on Thursday announced a slew of measures including fresh incentives for the leather, textiles and gems and jewellery industries and eased several administrative procedures for embattled exporters.
With exporters hemmed in by shrinking world demand, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath announced changes to the trade policy that included a Rs 325-crore incentive package for leather and textiles exporters, the worst hit by the global economic meltdown, and 5 per cent duty credit for the export of hand-made carpets under the Focus Product Scheme, against 3.5 per cent given earlier.
The government scaled down the export target to $175 billion for this fiscal from the earlier target of $200 billion, while a $200-billion export target has been set for the fiscal 2009/0. Import restrictions on worked corals have been removed for gems and jewellery exporters.
Procedures to claim refund under the duty drawback scheme in which exporters are given back the excise they pay have been simplified further.
At present, DEPB scrips – instruments under the Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme — can be used for payment of duty only on imported items that are under the free category. The utilisation is now extended for payment of duty for import of restricted items as well. Moreover, exporters will not have to wait for proceeds to encash the scrips that are like refund credits.
The government has also extended the tenure of the export promotion capital goods (EPCG) scheme under which exporters can import machinery.
“Under EPCG scheme, in case of decline in exports of a product by more than 5 per cent, the export obligation for all exporters of that product is to be reduced proportionately. This provision has been extended for the year 2009-10, for exports during 2008-09,” Nath said.