India aims to double exports to $ 500 bn by 2014
The Indian government has prepared a multi-pronged strategy for achieving an annual average growth in exports of around 26.7 %, in order to double the country's exports to $ 500 bn by 2014. The strategy paper, adopted in May after a detailed consultative exercise with the exporting community, aims at doubling India's exports in three years, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said.
''Clearly, this is a challenging task given the complexities and uncertainties of recent economic developments,'' Sharma said while addressing a meeting of the ministry's consultative committee in New Delhi.
Quoting Reserve Bank estimates, Sharma said the country's current account deficit has touched 3.1 % of GDP in June this year, which makes a concerted push on exports crucial to the health of the economy.
''Apart from earning valuable foreign exchange, we view exports as an instrument of providing gainful employment to millions of people across the country and enabling India to play a much larger role in a globally integrated world,'' the minister said.
The export strategy, which is based on the four pillars of product, markets, technology and brand image, have identified thrust areas for India's exports, Sharma said. At the product level, the thrust areas include engineering goods, basic chemicals as also organic and inorganic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
''We have set sectoral targets for each of these and I feel that engineering goods exports would touch $ 125 bn, export of chemical industry would touch $ 25 bn and drugs, pharma and basic chemicals would touch $ 44 bn and electronic export could reach $ 17 bn. Apart from this, employment-intensive sectors, including gems and jewellery, have been given special focus, for which a target of $ 70 bn has been set,” he said.
The export target for the agriculture sector has been set at $ 22 bn.
Under the market expansion strategy, the Foreign Trade Policy has provided for additional support for 41 new markets in Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Central Asia. Besides, the special focus market scheme, launched on 13 October, aims at reaching out to 12 new markets of Latin America, 22 new markets of Africa and 7 new markets of Central Asia, he said.
The main areas of concern, however, are the ballooning trade deficit with China, protecting labour intensive sectors, rupee volatility, infrastructure constraints and shortage of cheap labour for the textiles as also expediting work on the new national manufacturing policy, Sharma added.
The meeting was attended by parliamentary members including Naresh Gujral, T.K. Rangarajan, Mahendra Mohan, Bal Kumar Patel, Gorakh Prasad Jaiswal, R. Thamaraiselvan, Kristappa Nimmala and Monohar Tirkey, besides commerce secretary Rahul Khullar, industry secretary P.K. Chaudhary and other senior officials of the ministry.