In order to implement the vision of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to convert each district into an export hub the Finance Minister in her Budget 2020-21 speech said that each district should develop as an export hub. She further said that efforts of the Centre and State Governments are being synergised and institutional mechanisms are being created.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry through Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has been engaging with States/ UTs to initiate preparation and implementation of a District Export Plan (DEP) specific to each district in every State/ UT through an institutional structure at the district level. The institutional structure set up at the district level for implementation of the District Export Plan will be headed by the Chief/ District Development Officer with other relevant District Level Officers as members.
The DGFT is also developing a portal that may be accessed on the DGFT website to enable the States to upload all information related to the products with export potential of every district.
The preliminary exercise for the preparation of a DEP will include an assessment of a district to identify the current export profile and its further potential in the district. All key officers related to agriculture, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, handicrafts, handlooms and industry in the district and also the Lead Bank Manager will work towards the participation of key Export Promotion Councils, Quality and Technical Standards Bodies, Government of India departments like MSME, Heavy Industry, Revenue and Textiles will be part of the initial meetings. The initial meetings will be held under the Chairmanship of the Chief/ District Development Officer.
Secretary, Commerce and Industry held a meeting on 9th December last year with representative of all States/ UTs in New Delhi to synergise the efforts of the State/ UT Governments with those of the Department of Commerce and DGFT.
Department of Commerce has mandated the Regional Authorities (RAs) of DGFT to work with the State Governments and District Level Officers including GM-DIC, Lead Bank Managers to promote each district as an export hub. Department of Commerce has also suggested to concerned state agencies including the district administration, District Industries Centres and the local Chambers of Industries to provide necessary support to this initiative.
The DGFT RAs will act as a facilitator in promoting each district as an export hub and has drawn up a list where the products with export potential have been identified by them. The identification process is still ongoing.
The District Export Plan will include the support required by the local industry in boosting their manufacturing and exports with impetus on supporting the industry from the production stage to the exporting stage. Informative material on various incentives provided by the Government of India and the respective State Government of exporters will be disseminated to the industry and other potential exporters. The DEP will also include strategy to enhance logistics and infrastructure at the district level and better utilization of the Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme of the Department of Commerce for inviting foreign buyers under reverse buyer-seller meets at the district level, suitably gathering district level commodity and services exports data including through GSTN and Customs ICEGATE System and publishing District Export Matrix for each district on a quarterly basis by the State Government. Relevant budgetary support to the DGFT RAs will be provided to make outreach at district level and prepare DEP.
State/ UTs Government will be assisted in preparing an annual “Export Ranking Index” of different districts in a particular State/ UT to rank each district on its export competitiveness.
Nine States/ UTs have notified the constitution of a State Level Export Promotion Committee (SLEPC). The States/ UTs that have notified the constitution of the SLEPC are Delhi, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Tripura, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
In order to prepare a district wise export data efforts have been made by DGFT and DGCI&S to look into the feasibility of preparing district level export data from the existing set up. The products identified, which has export potential, from the 750 districts in the country are leather articles, sand and stone articles, spices, garments, wool, food products, ceramics, cement, silk, carpet, glass items, metal crafts, sports goods, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, auto parts, poultry products, vegetables, cut flowers, forest produce, bamboo products and scientific instruments.