Relief measures for exporters on the anvil

New Delhi (IANS) In a bid to prop up exports, a key engine of economic growth, the government may offer a slew of sector-specific incentives.

Among the proposals being considered are raising export credit, extending tax benefits and cutting import duty on certain inputs items.

A Commerce Ministry official said that gems and jewellery is one key segment which needs support in terms of lower input cost by cutting import duty.

"There is a proposal to reduce import duty on coloured gem stones and polished diamonds from the current 7.5%," he said.

The government may also consider raising insurance coverage by the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India for export credit from present 60%. The move would help banks to provide more credit at lower rates.

Given that the global trade has slumped and a deeper slowdown is being feared, the government may come up with a comprehensive relief package for the export sector. The move has also been necessitated due to China depreciating its currency to gain edge over competitors.

"If some kind of push comes on exports, it will help in overall growth of Indian economy which is very much required. Support from government will be welcome and timely," said Ajay Sahai DG & CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

"The global trade is moderating and once the size of the cake becomes small competition would intensify. From that perspective any support to export is welcome," he added.

The government has been trying to make India a manufacturing powerhouse and export hub by taking fiscal and administrative measures. In line with this, it may go for measures that will stop diversion of imports through free-trade agreement (FTA) countries.

Reducing dwell time for export items is another area the government has emphasized.

Suggestions given by exporters to boost the sector include enhancing benefits of the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for textile and non-basmati rice among others.

In order to ensure that working capital of exporters are not stuck, the Centre has directed revenue department to clear pending refunds in a time-bound manner.

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