More incentives on cards for labour-intensive exports
EXPORTS of labour-intensive products such as textiles, handicraft, handloom, carpets, leather and toys are expected to get a leg-up in the annual supplement to the foreign trade policy (FTP) to be announced later this month. The scope of the focus-product scheme, launched in 2006, is likely to be increased to include a number of new products, mostly in the labour-intensive category. The focus-market scheme, too, is expected to include more countries. The commerce department has sought a 50% increase in the budget for the two schemes — from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore. Speaking to ET, government sources said this time the finance ministry should be liberal in providing for the schemes as the financial constraint is a bit less with the winding up of DEPB benefits for many products. “The exchequer is saving about Rs 400 crore by scrapping DEPB for steel and Rs 100 crore by removing the benefit for rice. There would also be considerable saving on the withdrawal of DEPB for about 40 more products,” an official said. Under the focus-product scheme, exporters are entitled for a transferable duty credit scrip equivalent to 2.5% of 50% of the total FOB value for select products. The entitlement is higher at 2.5% of the entire FOB value under the focus-market scheme where the benefit is provided to encourage exports to identified markets. The focus-product scheme covers about 80 products, including footwear, certain leather products, handicrafts and marine products. More products under these broad categories are expected to be included in the scheme this year. The focus market scheme covers about 70 countries in Latin America, Africa and CIS. This year, the number of countries is expected to be increased. However, major markets like Brazil and South Africa will be kept out of the scheme as Indian exporters already have a considerable presence in the markets.