The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India Inc lauds Jaitley

March 31: India Inc whooped over the slew of sops dished out in the Exim Policy 2003-04 and reckoned that exports would rise substantially this year despite the gloom over the Gulf War.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said in a statement the “Exim policy has put in place the building blocks for India to achieve one per cent share of world exports by 2007. We are particularly happy that the commerce minister has underscored the potential of entertainment exports from India.”

Speaking at a CII discussion panel on the issue, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises said: “The duty free entitlement has been fixed at 5 per cent of the average forex earned during the last three years for the hotel sector. We welcome this step. It will encourage more business”.

However, Bimal K Raizada, senior vice president of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, said: “It is not at all clear whether research and development services are included or not in this policy. It is to be noted that outsourcing of R&D services and testing of diagnostic measures forms the thrust areas for the pharmaceutical industry.”

In order to facilitate diversification into the software sector, existing manufacturer exporters have been allowed to fulfil export obligation arising out of import of capital goods under the scheme for setting up of software units through export of manufactured goods of the same company.

CII president Ashok Soota said that he was particularly happy about “the thrust on services and agricultural sectors. The procedural simplifications and the move to co-ordinate with the finance ministry are also welcomed.”

MAIT, an apex body of IT hardware, R&D and training said, “The Exim policy has identified electronics hardware as a key thrust area and endeavours to make the sector globally competitive.”

“The new Exim policy gives a bold direction to unleash India’s potential in the agriculture and service sector and would help eastern and north-eastern region by giving them competitive strength in these areas,” Indian Chamber of Commerce president Vikram Thapar said.

Bharat Chamber of Commerce president N R Goenka welcomed granting duty free entitlement of 10 per cent of incremental growth in exports to status holders, allowing extension of the period of export obligation of sick units, linking the export obligation under EPCGs scheme to eight times the duty saved and permitting sales from domestic tariff area to special economic zones to be treated as export.

Oriental Chamber of Commerce president Samar Mohan Saha said that a major package for exports of services, special focus on high growth sectors like textiles, auto, gems and jewellry are welcome features. But the removal of quantitative restrictions for export of paddy is not at all justified when rice is allowed to export.

Assocham said removal of five items from the restricted list of exports would contribute sizeably to the overall export.

Welcoming the policy, PHDCCI said the government’s focus on development of infrastructure in export clusters will help in rapid development of the infrastructural facilities which will enhance competitiveness in exports in terms of cost.

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