The government has reconstituted the board of trade (BoT), an advisory body, and convened its first meeting on April 6 to discuss ways to boost exports, which have contracted for a 15th straight month through February.
The 72-member reconstituted board will continue to be headed by commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It has 21 top government officials — including 13 secretaries of key departments, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and chairpersons of the Railway Board, the National Highways Authority of India, the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, EXIM Bank, State Bank of India, and the managing director of the Container Corporation of India.
Besides, 19 members from the industry and academia and 31 heads of trade and industry associations are also on the new board, according to an official statement.
The director general of foreign trade will be the member secretary of BoT.
According to a government statement, the BoT has five main objectives: to advise the government on short and long-term plans for boosting exports; to review export performances of various sectors and identify constraints; to examine existing institutional trade framework; to review policy instruments and suggest steps to rationalise them; and to look into issues considered relevant for promoting trade and strengthening global competitiveness of Indian goods and services.
Sitharaman to attend India-EU Summit with PM
Sitharaman is scheduled to visit Belgium along with PM Narendra Modi for the India-EU Summit on March 30, which is being held after a gap of four years. A senior government official told FE that the PM and the minister will leave for Brussels on Tuesday night. The India-EU summit, aimed at boosting strategic partnership between the two sides and finding out ways to finalise a planned FTA, had last taken place in 2012. The EU is India’s largest export destination, which made up for 16% of total merchandise exports from India in 2014-15.
The PM will be on a three-nation tour during which he will also attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and visit Saudi Arabia after that. Sitharaman is expected to visit the US as well.