ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Exim Policy Changes

The Exim policy amendments announced last month may be classified under (a) alignment with WTO regulations, (b) rationalisation of existing export promotion policies, and (c) 'new' initiatives. After examining the changes under the first two categories, this article focuses on the 'new' initiatives. It is here we must get things right this time.

The annual ritual of adding frills to the Export and Import Policy (1997-2002) is over. After the initial euphoria the economy is back to business-as-usual. The annual Exim policy this year is somewhat special because it is the first policy of the new millennium and the first policy of the new government whose mission is to achieve a tremendous breakthrough in economic development in this decade, when the world is waking up to Indias crucial role as the largest democracy and as a dynamic economy, while the new technologies (specially information technology and biotechnology) are opening up new opportunities. Thus spoke the commerce and industry minister as the opening sentence of the Exim policy speech on March 31, 2000. A really long sentence (73 words), probably symbolising the distance India has to traverse before it can achieve exports with sustained high growth of, say 20-25 per cent every year. The intentions, however, are pious. Our trade policy reforms are aimed at creating an environment for achieving rapid increase in exports, raise Indias share in world exports and make exports an engine for achieving higher economic growth.

The growth rate of merchandise exports at 11 per cent during April 1999 to January 2000 over the poor performance of the previous two years does not really provide us a chance to celebrate and hope for an imminent bright future for our exports. Let us not forget that exports in dollar terms had grown by 22 per cent per annum during the period 1972-73 to 1976-77 and by 20 per cent per annum during the triennia 1987-88 to 1989-90 and 1993-94 to 1995-96. All these periods were followed by nightmarish experiences on the export front.

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