The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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DGFT cell to keep tabs on sensitive imports

New Delhi, Dec. 16 (PTI): A permanent investigative cell may be set up within the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to monitor the surge in imports of sensitive items.

A proposal to this effect is being weighed by a high-level committee which had been set up by commerce and industry minister Murasoli Maran earlier this year to revamp DGFT. The panel, headed by former commerce secretary P. P. Prabhu includes former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and textiles secretary S. B. Mohapatra.

Official sources said the panel, which is expected to finalise its report soon, is also considering shifting the focus of the DGFT from mere trade facilitation to providing export counselling. “Considering that officials posted to DGFT are experts in the field of trade and commerce, an option being examined by the committee is to see how the office can be used to provide counselling or guidance to exporters,” they said.

Also, in keeping with the threat of an increase in imports of certain items, the DGFT could have an investigation cell to regularly monitor such imports.

At present there is a standing group—comprising the commerce, revenue, agriculture and small-scale industry secretaries—that functions as a “war-room” for tracking, collating and analysing data on 300 sensitive items. In addition to the above measures, the committee is also examining ways to develop a closer interface with the state governments.

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