NWCC India: News Curtsey PTI
The lacklustre show of exports for almost past two years is no deterrent for the government, which is confident that it will see a “positive and solid difference” in 2017.
“I look at the new year which is going to definitely see positive and solid difference in exports compared to the previous years when we have been really very slow. I hope newer market should emerge,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told PTI.
The minister’s optimism came against the backdrop of a positive growth recorded by the exports in the last three months.
Since December 2014, exports fell for 18 straight months till May 2016 due to subdued global demand and slide in oil prices. Shipments started witnessing growth only in June this year, but again entered the negative zone in July and August. In September, October and November, it registered growth though.
According to the commerce ministry’s latest data, exports in November grew 2.29 per cent to USD 20 billion.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said that out of the 30 key product groups, close to 20 are exhibiting positive trends in the past couple of months.
“If such a trend continues, we can achieve USD 280 billion or even more in exports in the current fiscal,” FIEO President S C Ralhan said.
There is a word of caution. He felt that poor demand pick-up, slump in commodities prices, currency war may become more prominent in posing a greater challenge to export ..
The major markets for Indian exporters – the US and Europe – are yet to show strong signs of demand revival. The two regions account for over 30 per cent of the shipments.
“Global economy is not going to grow. The world market is nervous,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, adding that demonetisation will also impact exporters, particularly from the MSME sector. This sector contributes about 45 per cent to India’s total exports.
Exports are expected to remain in depression for the first half of this fiscal. The government would have to extend support to boost exports,” he said.
Labour-intensive sectors, including of handicrafts, have already flagged their concerns related to the impact of currency withdrawal.
Ease of doing business too is another key parameter for higher export numbers. Though the government has taken steps to improve that by reducing the number of documents required for import and export of goods, more is required.