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Government to identify 100 districts to develop as export hubs: DGFT

The government will identify close to 100 districts across the country to turn them into export hubs by adopting a “bottom-up approach”, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT, Santosh Kumar Sarangi said on Friday.

“Our idea is to involve more youngsters at the district level (like collectors) so that they see the initiative to boost exports as a core function, and not a peripheral function,” Sarangi said.

The phase one of the plan will cover 75-100 districts, which could go up in the next leg.

It will focus on both goods and services exports, and will cover multiple products or services, unlike the One District One Product programme, Sarangi said.

AMNESTY FOR EXPORTERS
The special amnesty scheme for default in export obligations proposed in the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) will allow pending cases to be settled by exporters by paying customs duties that were exempted in proportion to their unfulfilled export obligation, the DGFT said.

Maximum penal interest in such cases is capped at 100% of the exempted customs duties, he added.

No interest will be charged on the exempted portion of additional customs duties or the special additional customs duty.

Entities that were unable to meet their export obligation after importing inputs or capital goods at zero duty under the Advance Authorization and the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) schemes will be able to tap this window. It will remain open for six months through September 2023.

The scheme is along the lines of the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ initiative of the government, which sought to resolve tax disputes amicably.

CLEARING DUES TO EXPORTERS
The government will likely incur a “notional saving” of ₹7,000-8,000 crore from its allocation of ₹56,027 crore announced in September 2021 to clear all the pending dues owed to exporters until FY21 under various schemes, Sarangi said.

The DGFT has already cleared about ₹42,000 crore of dues so far. Arrears in respect of disputed cases are yet to be settled, while most other pending claims have been cleared, he said.

The dues amount is being disbursed in the form of scrips. The exporters can use these scrips to pay import duties or can sell these to importers who, in turn, can use them to pay the customs duties. So, these are “notional gains” for the government, the DGFT explained.

FTP’S GREEN PUSH
In a green push, electric vehicles, vertical farming equipment, waste water treatment, rain water harvesting systems, and green hydrogen will be eligible for reduced export obligation requirement under the EPCG scheme, as per the new Foreign Trade Policy.


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