Exports showed a healthy 6.16 percent year-on-year growth in January, with overseas shipments of non-petroleum and non-gems & jewellery products rising 13.40 percent to $19.79 billion. Imports increased by 2.03 percent to $41.99 billion from $41.15 billion and trade deficit declined by 4.95 percent. While these figures are encouraging, there is yet a lot to do to help the sector, if we go by the views of a leading exporters' association.
Not surprisingly, uncertainty over MEIS and SEIS scheme is one of the major challenges pointed out. A large number of exporters, both of goods and services, and mostly from the micro & small enterprise sector, are still awaiting for their claims. Again, delay in announcement of rates under the RoDTEP scheme is creating problem for exporters in finalizing contracts, particularly for those who are from sectors having razor thin margins. Another issue is the cumbersome ITC refund process, leading to huge transaction time and costs.
An interesting point brought to the fore is that while we often hear about huge subsidization of Indian exports, it is rightly pointed out that the total support given to the sector is even not 1 percent of the country's total exports, with support under Interest Equalization scheme, Market Access Initiative, Transport Marketing scheme, Trade Infrastructure for Export scheme and RoDTEP amounting to Rs.1900 crore, Rs.200 crore, Rs.150 crore, Rs.75 crore and Rs13000 crore only, respectively.