Nirmala Sitharaman asks States to ease logistics burden on exporters
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
KAKINADA: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked States to adopt a multi-modal approach and ensure logistics did not become a burden on exporters.
She said the PM Gati Shakti was a beautiful protocol with which a synergy could be brought in. Delivering the inaugural address after inaugurating the third campus of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in Kakinada, Sitharaman referred to 'One District-One Product' and 'Vocal for Local', initiatives, aimed at promoting local products and creating their export markets.
She said the Commerce Ministry was working on getting an export policy that would help the exporters by giving them incentives and promoting many things.
There's a repetitive and very relevant line that the Commerce Minister refers to - 'We can't be exporting taxes.' We also should identify ways in which those taxes whether Centre, State or local that are on these products should be removed so that we don't burden their exporters, the Finance Minister said.
The governments did not get much revenue from those products but burdened the exporters nevertheless, she noted. She said the growing cost of electricity and logistics was also affecting the exports. With better roads and ports coming electronic facilitation for the customs operations comingsurely, the logistics element is being addressed little by little. State governments should also spend some time to see that logistics doesn't become a burden on exporters, Sitharaman said.
The Finance Minister referred to the Prime Minister's suggestion that States should open export promotion offices in Indian embassies abroad.
If you have the capacity to tell the kind of things you produce that are international class our embassies are the place where you should be and target the markets there. Some of our States are the size of some European countries. We have the capacity even as a district to capture the market outside, she said.
The 'One District-One Product' is an attempt to identify such products in each district that have a natural capacity, organic capacity. And 'Vocal for Local.' Those are the kind of products that capture international imagination and need to be supported, she added.
Sitharaman, who said she was speaking as a student of trade and not a minister, observed that trade-related courses should become a lot more nimble.
She exhorted the IIFT students to have a comprehensive understanding of what was going on in the global trade areas.
"Multilateral institutions that govern trade have set the global norms. We should understand them. If anything, India's case should be put forward in a far more discerning, understanding way, she said.
Sitharaman asked students to widen their horizon and have a multi-disciplinary approach to studying trade. The Finance Minister asked the IIFT Vice-Chancellor to ensure the institution actively engaged in India's trade.
Wonderful brains are here. Use them to tell the Commerce Ministry how to go about it (foreign trade). You should be in the team of the Commerce Minister when he negotiates trade (with foreign countries), Sitharaman said.
She took a dig at the Indian economic service and Indian trade service officers for doing only a copy-paste job. You have Indian economic service and Indian trade service officers giving papers to the Minister, saying, Oh, minister can you please take this up?' But, many a time I find them copy-paste. I am sorry to say this. The Minister doesn't get an advantage, Sitharaman remarked.
Andhra Pradesh Ministers Buggana Rajendranath, K Nageswara Rao, Ch S V Krishna, S A Raju, Rajya Sabha members G V L Narasimha Rao, P S C Bose, Lok Sabha members V Geeta, M Bharat, MLCs, MLAs, and others attended the event. The IIFT-Kakinada has been opened on a temporary basis on the campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University here. IIFT's own campus on a 25-acre site at the Kakinada SEZ would be built at a cost of Rs 230 crore.