The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Job hopes float on exports

New Delhi, April 7: Aiming for a big push to job growth, the government today announced initiatives to promote exports of labour-intensive goods from rural and semi-urban areas. It also unveiled a special package to boost jewellery and marine exports and spur the growth of services.

Unveiling the annual supplement to the foreign trade policy today, commerce minister Kamal Nath said ‘focus product’ and ‘focus market’ schemes would be introduced to ramp up exports of labour intensive goods from rural and semi-urban regions and open up markets in Africa and Latin America.

He said goods exports had already crossed the $100-billion mark, and the new initiatives would propel it beyond $120 billion in 2006-07.

Announcing a special package for gems and jewellery, Nath said, “I want to see Mumbai on the same footing as the diamond market in Antwerp and the emerging centres of Dubai and Tel Aviv.”

The policy has plenty of boosters for gems and jewellery to cater to changing needs and facilitate easy product movement, besides allowing import of metal scrap for refining.

The ‘focus product’ scheme would include value-added fish and leather products, stationery items, fireworks, sports goods and handloom and handicraft items.

The minister also announced a special agriculture and village industry scheme.

Under the new policy, services exports in Indian currency would qualify for benefits under the ‘served from India’ scheme. Moreover, benefits for the scheme earned by one service provider can now be utilised by another group firm, including hotels.

Procedural changes have also been made to encourage business process outsourcing and IT-enabled services to avail of central sales tax refunds. To make India a hub for auto parts, import of new vehicles for R&D activities by auto component manufacturers would be allowed without testing conditions.

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