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Focussed plan to up India’s agri exports, says Prabhu at 4th CTDP meet
Friday, 11 January, 2019, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Government of India has formulated an Agricultural Export Policy for the first time with a focussed plan to boost India’s agricultural exports to $60 billion by 2022. This will not only integrate Indian farmers and high-quality agricultural products from the country with global value chains, but also double its share in world agriculture exports.

This was stated by Suresh Prabhu, minister for commerce and industry and civil aviation, at the fourth meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion (CTDP), which was held in New Delhi on Friday and chaired by him.

He called upon states and UTs (Union Territories) to explore all possible ways of tapping into the global value and supply chain by promoting the export of services, organic agricultural produce and in corporate value addition to agricultural products, and fully utilise all the schemes and programmes of the Government of India. This will not only add to the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country, but will also create greater employment.

Prabhu said that all states and UTs must formulate an export strategy which is state-specific and product-specific, and improve logistics and infrastructure in their region.

He informed the Council that the commerce and industry ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank, conducts an annual reform exercise for all states and UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) to improve delivery of various Central government regulatory functions and services in an efficient, effective and transparent manner. This exercise will now be undertaken at the district level in close collaboration with the states and UTs.

Prabhu informed the Council about the efforts being made by the Central Government in preparing a development plan for each and every district, so that growth is led from the district upwards, which will be a game-changer in taking India’s GDP to $5 trillion in 2025.

He urged the states and UTs to make use of the Rs 5,000 crore allotted for 12 champion services, which will lead to the creation of jobs in the services sector like information technology and information technology-enabled services (IT &ITeS), tourism and hospitality services, medical value travel, transport and logistics services, accounting and financial services, audio-visual services, legal services, communication services, construction and related engineering services, environmental services, financial services and education services.

The minister said that every state and UT of India has the potential for getting the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for many products of that area. Also, states and UTs must use the benefits given by the Central government for specific sectors, like leather, where Rs 2,600 crore was sanctioned by the Cabinet for the development of the leather and footwear industry.

C R Chaudhary, minister of state of commerce and industry, urged the states and UTs to take full advantage of the Trade Infrastructure for Exports Scheme (TIES) to improve export competitiveness. He added that for the North-Eastern states, matching support of equal to or more will be provided by the Central government under TIES.  

Representatives of 10 states and UTs attended the meeting and flagged various issues impeding exports from their regions like logistics for smooth transportation of goods and creation of warehouses/cold chain for perishable agriculture produce.

Ministers and officials from various states and UTs also spoke about the schemes being implemented for facilitating exports, technology upgrade of the existing manufacturing clusters and efforts to generate more employment.

CTDP provides a platform to the states and UTs to articulate their expectations and focusses on the need for all states and UTs to create suitable infrastructure in their regions which will help in developing competitiveness in their exports.

Ministers from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh spoke during the meeting.

Anup Wadhawan, secretary, commerce; Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP); N Sivasailam, special secretary, logistics, Department of Commerce; Arun Kumar Panda, secretary, ministry of micro-, small and medium enterprises; senior officers from other ministries and departments of Government of India, and representatives of ASSOCHAM (the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), FICCI (the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), CII (the Confederation of Indian Industry) and FIEO (the Federation of Indian Export Organisations) were also present at the meeting of the Council.

CTDP was constituted in July 2015, to ensure a continuous dialogue with the governments of states and UTs on measures for providing international trade enabling environments. It also seeks to create a framework for making states and UTs active partners in boosting India’s exports.

While Prabhu is chairperson of CTDP, ministers in-charge of trade and commerce in state and UT governments are its members. In addition to these, 14 secretaries of the Central government, including commerce, revenue, shipping, civil aviation, agriculture, food processing and economic affairs, are also its members.
 
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