Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Piyush Goyal and Ministers of State of Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri and SomParkash addressed the 2nd meeting of the Board of Trade in New Delhi today.
The Board of Trade and Council for Trade Development and Promotion have been merged into the Board of Trade and representatives of both bodies were present in today’s interactive meeting.
Addressing the participants Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal said that each district of India has the potential equal to that of a country with its own distinct handicraft and unique specialties like saris, perfumes, sweets and utensils which has the potential for exports. There is a need for transforming each district of India into an export hub. Commerce and Industry Minister urged his colleagues from States to identify and take measures to realize this by incorporating it into its export strategy.
Commerce & Industry Minister further said that the merger of banks will now enable them to disburse enhanced credit, raise their risk appetite and to raise resources from the market. He further added that Rs 70,000 crore will be released to PSBs upfront and additional lending and liquidity to the tune of Rs 5 lakh crorethat will benefit corporate, retail borrowers, MSMEs, small traders and exporters.
All pending GST refunds due to MSMEs will be paid within 30 days and improved One Time Settlement policy will benefit MSMEs and retail borrowers in settling their overdue, added the Minister.
In his opening remarks Piyush Goyal listed out the many initiatives that have been taken to digitise the interaction with exporters like e-issue of importer-exporter’s code, paperless MEIS, paperless Advance and EPCG Authorizations and online RCMC for exporters. The reorganization of DGFT field offices have led to better utilization of human resources.
Piyush Goyal said that although total exports of India have crossed half trillion-dollar mark at USD 537 billion in 2018-19, goods exports are at an all-time high of USD 331 billion and services exports stand at a record USD 205 billion but India will have to achieve one trillion USD of exports in the next five years. For this, the Minister said that we need to increase domestic production and improve our competitiveness.
Simultaneously, both Central and State Governments, together have to take measures for further improving ease of doing business, decrease logistics cost, simplify regulatory procedures. It is a matter of pride that our rank in ease of doing business has improved from 142 in 2014 to 77 in 2018 with trading across borders up from 122 to 80. However, we have to break into top 50 nations and we have to improve ease of doing business throughout the country and the States have to play a major role in this.
The Commerce and Industry Minister announced that the Ministry will soon be coming out with a credit scheme for exporters with enhanced insurance cover upto 90% instead of the present 60%.
Piyush Goyal said that there has not been much growth in exports this year and it is not satisfactory as India has a huge potential for exports due to the trade dispute between US and China which has provided a window of opportunity to Indian manufacturers for taking up exports of products to US or China where the higher tariffs have been imposed on imports from the other country. We have a trade surplus of USD 17 billion with USA while we have a trade deficit of USD 53 billion with China, added the Minister and for this India needs to work on its strengths by exploring market access for agriculture and pharma products in different regions.
Commerce and Industry Minister hoped that the day-long session will help in identifying undesirable imports and help in the formulation of guidelines for the foreign trade policy which is being formulated to make it more robust.
During the inaugural session the LEADS Index – 2019 was released by Commerce and Industry Minister along with Ministers of State for Commerce and Industry,Hardeep Singh Puri and SomParkash, CEO NITIAayog, Amitabh Kant, Commerce Secretary,AnupWadhawan, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Secretary, GuruprasadMohapatraand Director General of Foreign Trade,AlokVardhanChaturvedi.
The top ranking state in the logistics sector is Gujarat followed by Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. Among the hilly Eastern States Tripura is the top performer and among Union Territories (UTs) Chandigarh was selected as the best performing UT.
The LEADS Index is an effort by the Commerce and Industry Ministry to establish the base line of performance in the logistics sector based on the perception of users and stakeholders at the State level. It provides the basis for stakeholder engagement, discussions and evolving action plan by various agencies. It is not an index of the performance of the State Government but may be used to assess the status of logistics efficiency in each State.
The State Logistics Performance Index is arrived at using a ranking methodology based on a series of meetings with stakeholders and online surveys in the key areas of the logistics like infrastructure, services, timelines, traceability, competitiveness, security, operating environment and efficiency of regulation.