More export sops sought
THE commerce & industry ministry has pressed the panic button over job losses in the export sector. In a note for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), it has been pointed out that approximately two lakh workers will be laid off by exporters by the end of the fiscal and the number could rise significantly if the government does not take immediate action. The note, which will be first sent to the finance ministry for its comments, suggests that for sectors like handicrafts, textiles and leather, where exports have plunged up to 50%, there is a need for more sops, which could include an ad-hoc increase in tax reimbursement rates under the DEPB and duty drawback schemes, full reimbursement of service tax for exporters, and reimbursement of state taxes and levies. Senior officials pointed out that in a survey of 58 companies picked up by the commerce department across sectors, it was found that 10,800 workers had been laid off till September 30. “Several thousands have already lost their jobs and if nothing is done to bail exporters out, the figure will go up significantly during the next season,” the official said. Not only are exporters reducing their volumes, several units are also shutting shop, especially in the textile and handicraft sectors, leading to huge layoffs.