Export incentive scheme hike to be paid next week: Official

The government on Wednesday said an increased amount allocated for export incentive schemes in the current fiscal is likely to be available for allocations next week and asked exporters to ensure timely submission of bills to get the credit.

Addressing a meeting of exporters here, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the allocation for export incentive schemes in the current financial year has been increased to Rs.21,000 crore from the earlier Rs.18,000 crore, a commerce ministry statement here said.

“She advised exporters to ensure timely submission of bills to get this credit,” the statement said.

During the meeting, convened in the context of exports being in the negative zone since December last, the exporters raised issues hampering exports’ growth like imposition of minimum alternate tax (MAT) on special economic zones (SEZs), high cost of credit and transactions cost.

Teaotia assured the exporters that their suggestions will be crystallised in a concrete form and specific action would be taken by the ministry to facilitate them, the statement said.

Official data showed last month that India’s merchandise exports declined further for the ninth straight month in August to $21.27 billion, 20.66 percent lower than the $26.80 billion worth shipped in the same month of last year.

Trade deficit during August rose on a year-on-year basis and stood at $12.48 billion, as compared to $10.67 billion in the corresponding month of last year.

Cumulative exports for the period April-August 2015-16 at $111.09 billion registered a 16.17 percent decline over last year’s corresponding period at $132.53 billion, continuing the declining trend, caused by the global economic slowdown, fall in crude oil prices and appreciation of the rupee.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) vice president Ramesh Kumar Agarwal told reportes after the meeting: “We have got assurance that the interest subvention scheme and more benefits under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) will soon be announced by the government.”

Council for Leather Exports chairman Rafeeq Ahmed said if the declining trend continued, exports could fall by $50 billion this year. He said that in the leather sector, already about 20,000 people have lost their jobs due to exports contraction.

“We have urged the government to reduce MAT to 7.5 percent and announce more steps to revive investors’ interest in these zones,” said Export Promotion Council for SEZs and EOUs vice chairman Rahul Gupta.