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DGFT to revamp collection, collation of export-import data

In what may be seen as a two-pronged strategy of the government, the director general of foreign trade has decided to revamp its systems involved in the collection and collation of the export-import data.

In what may be seen as a two-pronged strategy of the government, the director general of foreign trade (DGFT) has decided to revamp its systems involved in the collection and collation of the export-import data. Such an exercise will not only allow the government to overcome the glitches in the data gathering exercise but will also help in monitoring the routes of black money.

Under the revamped system, DGFT plans to reduce the time lag between a shipment being made and its record being updated in the government data This will be cut down from six months now to between 2-3 months.

In addition, strict monitoring will be put in place to prevent over invoicing of exports that could result in flow of black money into the country. The government fears that apart from faulty data, one of the reasons for a spiralling export growth in early part of the year could be due to suspicious trading practise followed by exporters.

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A top DGFT official told FE that the DGFT will hold a few rounds of discussions with the directorate general of commercial intelligence and statistics (DGCI&S) based out of Kolkata, under its department explaining the need and how to undertake the revamping exercise.

The new strategy will include better connectivity and empowered network systems which will allow easy monitoring and collation of the shipments made out of the country, the official added.

It is understood from various sources that the need to undertake such steps arises since the skepticism about India?s scorching export growth this fiscal were at odds with the stuttering domestic economy and a steep demand slump in key export markets.

Recently, the commerce ministry had admitted to a goof-up in export numbers reported ? they were overstated by a good $9.4 billion during April-October. This prompted the Prime Minister?s Office (PMO) to seek details of the error from the commerce ministry. The matter is also being probed CBDT, DRI & ED for a select group of countries.

On being asked how will the exercise help in tracing the black money, the official quoted earlier said, ?The data which gets collated by DGCI&S not only records the quantity of products getting exported but also collects data about the exporter and the destination of such exports. But this process is time consuming as verification it takes time.?

?We will now empower our field staff to cross check current exports with past years data to establish deviations that could be suspicious. Thus if an exporters is selling trash and routing black money into the country, on suspicion the field officers can take action? he added.

Several experts had said that a major product category in which such practices are traditionally used are the exports gems and jewellery. Economists had raised eyebrows when the Indian exports had recorded high growth figures especially to tax haven countries.

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First published on: 17-12-2011 at 01:17 IST