The strategy paper has been prepared in the backdrop of complex global economic environment - Anand Sharma
Anand Sharma, the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles, chaired the meeting of Consultative Committee on the Commerce & Industry late evening, yesterday. The agenda of the meeting was ‘Strategy for doubling of exports in next three years and current trends thereof’. Shri Sharma in his opening remarks said that, “The strategy paper has been prepared in the backdrop of complex global economic environment which has seen considerable turbulence in the last few years. Barely had the world come out of the shadow of the grim recessionary period which commenced in 2008 with the clouds of uncertainty started looming large, bringing fresh fears of a double dip depression. You will appreciate that the government is conscious of maintaining the current account deficit and trade deficit within manageable limits”. Commerce Minister while quoting the report releases only day before yesterday by RBI indicating that, the current account deficit has touched 3.1% of GDP in June this year and, therefore, it is a crucial imperative to give a concerted push on exports. Apart from earning valuable foreign exchange, we view exports as an instrument of providing gainful employment to millions of people across the country and enabling India to play a much larger role in a globally integrated world. The Minister informed that, after a detailed consultative exercise with the exporting community, the Commerce Ministry prepared a multi-pronged strategy for doubling exports to US $ 500 billion by 2014 which envisages an annual growth of nearly 26.7%. Clearly, this is a challenging task given the complexities and uncertainties of recent economic developments. The strategy paper was launched in May this for doubling India’s exports in the next three years to reach US $ 500 billion by 2014. The Strategy Paper hinges on 4 pillars – (1) Product Strategy; (2) Market Strategy; (3) Technologies and R&D and (4) Building a Brand image. At product level, we have identified sectors where we have considerable growth potential which include (a) engineering goods; (b) Basic chemical industries and organic and inorganic chemical industries, (c) Pharmaceutical industry and (d) Electronics. Shri Sharma emphasized that, “We have set sectoral targets for each of these and I feel that engineering goods exports would touch US $ 125 billion, export of chemical industry would touch US $ 25 billion and drugs, Pharma and basic chemicals would touch US $ 44 billion and electronic exports could reach US$ 17 billion. Apart from this, the employment intensive sectors have been given a special focus which include gems and jewellery for which we have set a target of US$ 70 billion and agri exports for which we have set a target of US$ 22 billion. In terms of market expansion, while in the Foreign Trade Policy, we had provided additional support for 41 new markets in Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Central Asia. On 13th October 2011, we introduced a Special Focus Market Scheme to reach out to 12 new markets of Latin America, 22 new markets of Africa and 7 new markets of Central Asia. The Members appreciated the efforts made by the Department of Commerce & Industry in export promotion and new strategy that is in place for the doubling of exports. The general concerns raised by the members were: Balancing trade deficit with China, protecting the labor intensive sectors, currency volatility (Rupee dollar fluctuations), infrastructure constraints, and shortage of cheap labour for the textiles that is hurting textiles export and expediting the work on the new national manufacturing policy. Meeting was attended by the Parliamentary Members that included: Shri Naresh Gujral, Shri T. K Rangarajan, Shri Mahendra Mohan, Shri Bal Kumar Patel, Shri Gorakh Prasad Jaiswal, Shri R. Thamaraiselvan, Shri Kristappa Nimmala & Shri Monohar Tirkey; Secretary Commerce Shri Rahul Khullar, Secretary Industry Shri P. K Chaudhary and the senior officials of the Ministry. Shri Sharma later remarked that, the labour intensive sectors have received our special attention and would be receiving the same and better treatment.