Commerce minister Anand Sharma, in an interview with Timsy Jaipuria, gives a clear picture on the various concerns over the country?s trade, industry and investment scenario and says India will be able to sustain its export growth despite the global turbulance.
Despite Indian exports increasing over 50% in the first six months of this fiscal, the government announced a series of sops for the exporters. Does the government foresee tough times for exporters?
We have to take a holistic view. Given the grim backdrop and the deceleration in the western economies, it is important to keep in mind that we step in at the right time by tweaking in the Foreign Trade Policy of the country to enable the exporters retain their competitive edge. The demand from the traditional markets is drying up and so, we have to take in steps like market diversification etc to maintain the growth.
The trade deficit of the country is increasing, how much of a concern it is?
Yes it is a matter of great concern. Import bill has been rising but we need to see how the global scenario is functioning which is leading to the deficit. Oil and commodity prices have been volatile, then the currency fluctuation is also adding to the pressure. Though the exports have shown an impressive growth in the first half, the volatile nature of both oil and rupee have added stress to the trade account deficit and in turn the current account deficit. But I am hopeful that it (the deficit) remains within the manageable limits.
How much have the market diversification scheme of the government helped the exports to grow?
It has helped a lot and the policy has paid desired dividends. Demand from Latin America, Africa, Asean, CIS and to some extent from the gulf countries has lead to the growth in the Indian exports.
What additional support is the commerce ministry working on to give a boost to the exporters and the industry?
I have met with the finance minister and he is quite receptive towards the concerns of the exporters. He has assured me that he will consider the extension of the EPCG and SHIS scheme. But we must also remember that he has to keep in mind the fiscal room available with him. Apart from this, I will also be talking to him regarding a differential rate of credit for the manufacturing sector as capital formation is not taking place.
What is your view on the policy paralysis that is there in the mind of the investor community. What are the steps that you are taking to improve it?
Yes some things are in the pipeline and the view of the senior members of the government is to have a forward looking approach.
But, yes there are certain constraints but our endeavour is to have a better investor climate and we are working on it.