Policy

DGFT to go fully digital, contactless, faceless, paperless: Commerce Secretary

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 22, 2021

Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Department to help States prepare annual export ranking index for districts

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will soon be completely digitised with the rollout of newer IT systems in a phased manner, enabling virtual offices to be created that are faceless, contactless and paperless, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan has said.

The Commerce Secretary also said that the Ministry was preparing a district export plan to boost shipments and the DGFT will assist States/UTs in preparing an annual “Export Ranking Index” of different districts to rank each district on its export competitiveness. This would provide for agile trade policy formulations that are more responsive to changing scenarios of international trade, a paper on electronic governance and trade facilitation reforms put together by the Commerce Department pointed out.

Friendly, flexible

DGFT would be moving to a paradigm where business would lead and not be held back while waiting for specific confirmations. The usual process of queuing up for benefits and approvals would be removed wherever possible. The exporter or importer would not have to wait on DGFT for any business approval. DGFT would be implementing post-issuance audit systems for managing any risks for such a business-friendly, flexible system, the paper said. On the initiative of developing districts as export hubs, Wadhawan said that the idea was being seriously pushed at all fronts since every district has products and services that are being exported, and can be further promoted, along with new products/services. This would increase production, grow exports, generate economic activity and achieve the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for local and Make in India.

The DGFT is working with State/UT governments in a phased manner to achieve this objective. “In the initial phase, product/services (GI products, agricultural clusters, toy clusters, etc) with export potential in each district have been identified and institutional mechanism in the form of State Export Promotion Committees at the state level and District Export Promotion Committees (DEPCs) at the district level are being created to provide support for export promotion and to address the bottlenecks for export growth in the districts,” according to an internal paper on ‘districts as export hub’.

State/UTs will also be assisted by DGFT in preparing an annual “Export Ranking Index” of different districts in a particular State/UT to rank each district on its export competitiveness.

The five-year Foreign Trade Policy to be announced shortly is likely to have a focus on developing districts as export hubs.

Published on March 22, 2021

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