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March 30, 2002 | 1400 IST
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Export-push Exim Policy to be unveiled on Sunday


Union Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran will unveil the five-year Export-Import Policy on March 31 (Sunday) with an export-push bias unlike last year, when the focus was on import-liberalisation.

The Exim Policy, to be coterminous with the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007), is likely to place a major emphasis on the Special Economic Zones and liberalisation of agri exports with an aim to revive exports' growth.

With a view to aggressively invite the foreign direct investment, the policy may come out with a strong recommendations of an over-riding legislation for the SEZs.

The high-powered N K Singh Committee on FDI had also emphasised the need for such a law. States like Andhra Pradesh have already taken a lead for an over-riding law to facilitate foreign investment. Such a law will empower the SEZ authorities to grant clearances to the units within the zone if the specific proposals get stuck in the regulatory machinery of the state or the central government.

As an effort to provide single window clearances both for the initial establishment and day-to-day operation of the units, the commerce ministry has already delegated most of the powers to the development commissioners.

It will be ensured that all the government departments -- Central as well as State level -- provide automatic clearances as far as possible and wherever not feasible, detailed and transparent guidelines will be laid down for

facilitating quick and decentralised clearances.

There would be a further liberalisation in the quantitative restrictions on agri exports. The government had promised on many occasions to free the agriculture sector from the restrictions within the country and on exports.

The policy will specify a roadmap for the liberal regime in the agro sector.

Although the most popular Duty Entitlement Passbook (DEPB) scheme is not compatible with the World Trade Organisation's regime, business chambers have been mounting pressure on the government to continue the incentive. The government is likely to oblige the exporters and continue with the scheme after fine tuning it with other incentive schemes.

In a difficult year for the business all over the world, India would barely achieve an export growth of 3 per cent if the pickup in the trend from the last few months continued for the entire fiscal 2001-2002.

The government has already made it clear that SEZs would be considered as 'deemed foreign territory' with minimum area of 1000 hectares. The DEPB facilities would be available to supplies made from the Domestic Tariff Area to a SEZ. Sales made from DTA to SEZs would be exempted from the Central Sales Tax.

The government has already given approvals for setting up 13 SEZs in the country. Detailed projects for the SEZ at Positra in Gujarat and the others at Nanguneri in Tamil Nadu and Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra have been finalised. Positra has been able to tie-up project participation from financial institutions and banks to the extent of over Rs 20 billion.

The policy may also contain some sectoral packages. In the telecom sector, proposals for permitting SEZ developers to set up international gateway and submarine landing stations are under consideration.

The government had removed all the QRs on imports in the last Exim Policy. However, it had established a war-room to monitor the imports of the sensitive items. Barring a few plantation crops imports have not shown any dramatic increase.


So what is the Exim Policy all about?
The Exim Policy 2001-02
The Rediff Budget Special

Business News