Exporters say overseas orders may re-start if production is allowed during lockdown extension

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 13, 2020

DPIIT proposal to expand list of economic activities could help save industry and jobs, says Fieo

Exporters have said that expanding the list of economic activities during the extended lockdown period, including allowing manufacturing for exports, as proposed by the Commerce & Industry Ministry, will help them execute whatever little orders remained after huge cancellations over the last two months and may slowly improve the situation.

“Opening of all export industries, large as well as MSMEs including SEZs and EOUs, will also send the right signal to overseas buyers that the situation is fast normalising in India, encouraging them to further place orders on us,” said Sharad Kumar Saraf, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (Fieo).

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra recently sent a letter to Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla proposing that if the on-going lockdown to contain Covid-19 is extended beyond April 15, those companies and MSMEs with export commitments be allowed to operate with minimal manpower and necessary movement of material.

16 sectors highlighted

It also suggested that sixteen sectors, which includes telecom equipment, gems & jewellery, steel and ferrous alloy, automotive units, defence manufacturing and all units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EOUs), be allowed to operate adhering to safety, sanitisation and distancing norms.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs should immediately issue the order to put the recommendation (of DPIIT) into practice, which will help boost the economy while simultaneously helping the industry as well as workers,” Fieo pointed out in a statement.

Fieo had earlier warned that with cancellation of over 50 per cent of export orders in the last few weeks due to coronavirus disruptions worldwide there was a chance that there could be 15 million job losses in export units.

India’s goods exports declined 1.5 per cent to $292.91 billion in April-February 2020 compared to last year. Exports increased marginally in February 2020, but are expected to fall in March 2020 because of the breakdown in production, supply and payments.

Published on April 13, 2020

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