Move to develop India as sourcing point

New Delhi, January 30: | Updated: Jan 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
The medium-term exports strategy for chemicals and allied sector including cement aims at developing India as the sourcing point and a subcontracting base for chemicals and boosting exports from the country.

The strategy unveiled on Wednesday focuses on identification of area of support required by industry for adoption of latest technology, advisory services, and marketing support in the chemicals sector. It also envisages setting up of comprehensive chemical estates with the integrated end-product manufacturing facilities in different parts of the country, curbing the menace of spurious drugs, and encouragement to investment in R&D in the pharmaceutical sector.

Efforts to win international tenders in medicine and focus on branded generic pharmaceutical products out of patent regime in developed market also form part of the strategy for the chemicals sector.

It also aims at enhancing awareness about India herbal items by launching a web portal on Ayurveda and adoption of standardised procedures and a rigid quality enforcement system for herbal/ayurvedic products.

The strategy stresses the need for focussing on exports of rubber manufactured products and print and publishing products.

It has pointed out that the cement industry had capacity and capability to export 10 million tonnes or even more annually without affecting supplies to domestic market.

Countries of Indian sub-continent, middle-east and South East Asian countries have been identified as the potential markets for cement exports under the strategy.

It says that export of cement is expected to touch 6-7 million tonnes annually as against the current 5.15 million tonnes if duty free import of coal is increased to 40 per cent of the cement export from the present level of 20 per cent, and custom duty on coal is reinstated to 15 per cent without any surcharge from current 25 per cent without surcharge.

The industry would be able to export 8-10 million tonnes annually if customs duty on coal was reduced to 5 per cent without any surcharge, it says.

There is a need to convince Sri Lanka to levy 0-5 per cent tariff on Indian cement so that India can continue to get preferential treatment, and urge Bangladesh to give preferential rate of customs duty on cement imports from India, it adds. The strategy has also recommended rebate in state levies on items used for cement production.