Exports rise 35%, but may not meet target
New Delhi: India’s exports made a strong comeback, rising over 35% to nearly $10 billion in October, despite complaints of a rising rupee. But government said the growth was mainly on account of petroleum, where prices are ruling at all-time highs, and engineering goods. The labour-intensive sectors saw a steep drop in shipments making it difficult to achieve the $160 billion target for the current financial year. Commerce secretary Gopal K Pillai told reporters that in October, textiles exports had dropped 22%, while marine goods exports fell around 20%, handicrafts by 66% and leather goods by 9%. He said the impact of the appreciation of the rupee was being felt in sectors with high domestic content. Exporters are estimated to have slashed around 1.3 lakh jobs so far as they have lost orders due the appreciation of the Indian currency against the dollar which accounted for nearly 70% of the billing. While 30,000 regular employees are estimated to have been rendered jobless for want of orders, another 1 lakh contract labourers have been sacked. While the government has already announced three packages to control the damage, which is expected to claim another 70,000 jobs by the end of the fiscal, the commerce ministry is expected to seek more sops from the cabinet which could include measures for sectors like plantations, that are facing significant pressure. Along with exports there was good news on imports too which had slumped last month and this might put an end to the debate on a slowdown of sorts building in the Indian economy. While oil imports rose 14.6% to $6.1 billion during October 2007, compared to $5.3 billion in the same month last year, non-oil imports were up nearly 29% to $14.6 billion. Non-oil imports are a good barometer of economic activity in the months to come since raw materials and inputs form a significant part of the consignments entering India. Better export growth would also augur well for the industrial sectors, especially manufacturing, which is witnessing a slowdown due to the rise of the rupee as well as higher interest rates. Economic growth slowed down to 8.6% during the second quarter of the current fiscal as industry reported its lowest growth in seven quarters. Direct tax collection up 45% New Delhi: Direct tax collections grew 44.86% during April-November this year to Rs 1,45,053 crore, up from Rs 1,00,135 crore in the year-ago period. “Net direct tax collections have continued to grow at over 40% and government has succeeded in achieving over 54% of budgeted direct tax target of Rs 2,67,490 crore in the first eight months,” a finance ministry statement said. Corporate tax registered a growth of 46.62% at Rs 86,526 crore during the period under review, up from Rs 59,015 crore, while personal income tax (including FBT, STT and BCTT) grew by 42.48% at Rs 58,303 crore, up from Rs 40,920 crore. Securities Transaction Tax (STT) was up 78.93% at Rs 4,924 crore during April-November period against Rs 2,752 crore during the corresponding period last fiscal. Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) grew by 16.76% at Rs 3,064 crore for the first eight months of the fiscal as against Rs 2,624 crore during the year-ago period. Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT) rose 14.34% to Rs 359 crore against Rs 314 crore in the comparable period last year.