Jan 09, 2016 01:01 PM IST | Source: PTI

Falling exports: Centre, states, industry discuss taxes, infra

Besides, the first meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also deliberated on quality and standards of products, labour issues and the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports (ASIDE scheme).

Falling exports: Centre, states, industry discuss taxes, infra

Faster refund of state taxes, improved rail-road connectivity, land and environment clearances were among the major issues discussed at a meeting of central and state governments and industry in quest of measures to arrest persistent fall in exports.

Besides, the first meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also deliberated on quality and standards of products, labour issues and the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports (ASIDE scheme).

Sitharaman said all the state ministers and representatives present in the meeting raised the issue of ASIDE scheme, which is now transferred to states.

They suggested that the scheme should be run by the central government only.

"ASIDE is something which all states were speaking in one voice. They said you have withdrawn that but we have not actually withdrawn. We have under the 14th Finance Commission's recommendations given away ASIDE funds to the states," she said.

She said that while recognising that fact, states still wanted the Centre to deal with export promotion infrastructure. "So most of them have said ...

Commerce Ministry should still continue like the old way in which ASIDE was utilised for creating industrial infrastructure for export promotion. So that was one common grievance and suggestion," she added.

Further, the minister suggested the states to hold a bimonthly meeting with exporters to understand their issues and help the country in boosting the shipments.

On the declining exports, she said, "I am not saying that the story is all Hunky-dory, its all bed of roses. There is lot of scope for us to improve". She added that exports are concern for some sectors but there are sectors which even in this adverse environment are still holding out well.

"For the first meeting of the council, I wished there were more ministers," Sitharaman said. About 10 state ministers including Karnataka's attended the meeting.

"The meeting was very productive. The sense was that we can do better but there was no sense that Oh My God, what is happening. There was a sense that we have the capacity, there are landlocked states which might need a bit of transport subsidy, there may be states which have a peculiar need," she old reporters after the meeting.

The council, set up last year, provides a platform to state governments, UTs for articulating their perspective on trade policy to help them develop and pursue export strategies in line with national foreign trade policy.

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