Seeks merger of duty exemption schemes for speedy refunds

Our Bureau

Kolkata, Aug 3

The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) aims to scale a higher engineering exports target for 2006-07 at $23 billion compared to $19.18 billion achieved in 2005-06, warranting a 20 per cent growth.

This is said to be in line with the revised $125-billion target set for overall merchandise exports from India this fiscal. The target would be subjected to a mid-term review.

The Council has also urged the Government to come out with a single scheme, merging the existing duty exemption schemes, which will provide refunds to exporters for customs duty, excise, State-level taxes and other levies which contribute to the disability factor for Indian exports.

Talking to newspersons here on Wednesday on the takeaways of a recent meeting with the Union Commerce Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, Mr Rakesh Shah, National Chairman of EEPC, said during the first quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal, $5.5-billion worth of engineering items (including services) were exported from India, recording a 20 per cent increase over last year (for the same quarter).

Mr Shah said if the DGCI&S (Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics) agrees to bring the miscellaneous 292 items under the engineering items category, the annual target would climb by another billion, taking it to $24 billion. These items yield an export of around $700 million. Engineering exports account for some 18-19 per cent of the total exports from the country.

Pointing out that engineering exports, in dollar terms, hit a record growth of nearly 25 per cent, he said exports this fiscal may go beyond $20.3 billion, after excluding services exports and export of the 292 engineering items still not considered as principal commodities by DGCI&S.

Exports of engineering services from India in 2005-06 are estimated at around Rs 1,280 crore ($289 million), indicating a growth of around 16 per cent over 2004-05.

`Numero uno' slot

Mr Shah said the achievement of $19.18-billion exports in last fiscal has catapulted EEPC to the `numero uno' slot, ahead of the gem & jewellery export promotion council, which clocked exports of $15.54 billion.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 4, 2006)
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