Bikky Khosla | 07 Dec, 2020
Exports fell 9.07 percent to $23.43
billion from $25.77 billion in November 2019, according to official figures
released last week. The Commerce Ministry – on the basis of preliminary data – added
that total overseas shipments during April-November 2020-21 stood at $173.49
billion, as compared to $211.17 billion during the same period last year, exhibiting
a negative growth of 17.84 percent. This data does not tell the whole story,
While the fall in exports in November
can be attributed to supply side disruptions, including
restricted container movement and declining petroleum exports due to its
crashing prices, with farmers’ agitation further affecting the sector, in
contrast, it is encouraging to see that factors –like gradual lifting of
lockdowns, both across the country and around the globe, and expectations of arrival
of Covid-19 vaccine – are likely to improve the situation in coming months.
This, however, neither imply that the sector is out of
the woods. According to FIEO, although exporters, these days, have continuously
been receiving a lot of enquiries and orders, there are some key issues – availability
of containers, introduction of RoDTEP across all sectors, introduction of
NIRVIK scheme, creation of a fund for marketing of Brand India products and
various other customs and port clearance-related infrastructure bottlenecks – which
need to be urgently addressed.
Meanwhile, the RBI late last week retained the repo rate – or short-term lending rate
for commercial banks – at 4 percent. Also, it maintained
the growth-oriented accommodative stance, thus opening up possibilities for
more rate cuts in near future. Additionally, the central bank also announced External
Trade Facilitation measures which will provide a great relief to exporters
whose bills are pending in EDPMS. This will save the transaction time of
exporters as well.
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