GJEPC Applauds Finance Ministry’s Measures To Boost Exports

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) welcomed a host of new measures for boosting exports from the country, as announced by the union minister for finance and corporate affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, on September 14th, in New Delhi. As the apex body of the industry in India, the GJEPC has been representing the gem and jewellery sector’s policy concerns and issues to the government with the objective of giving impetus to exports from the country. In a recently held Board of Trade meeting on September 12th, GJEPC chairman Pramod Agrawal had urged several key policy recommendations to the government.

The Council noted that the measures announced by Sitharaman had come as a major relief to the gem and jewellery industry. In a statement, Agrawal said, “With great pleasure I would like to thank and acknowledge the positive announcements made by the honourable finance minister. I am glad that the government has understood the concerns of the gem and jewellery sector and have come up with various measures to boost exports and facilitate trade.

“The gem and jewellery sector was constantly suffering from a credit crunch and blockage of capital. Expanding the scope of the Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) by the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) to banks lending working capital for exports, is an encouraging step towards resolving the finance woes of the sector.

“Gem and jewellery is one of the four special sectors chosen for organising Annual Mega Shopping Festivals in four cities prior to March 2020. The festivals will be based on the four themes of gems & jewellery, handicrafts/yoga/tourism, textiles, and leather. This would not just provide impetus to sales to foreign tourists, but also propel exports for the sector.”

Agrawal said the reimbursement of taxes and duties for export promotion is an encouraging step towards ease of doing business and the step towards expediting export shipments will enhance sectoral exports.

“Earlier too the government had come up with circulars resolving key issues of Integrated Goods & Services Tax (IGST) payment and Replenishment scheme for the gems and jewellery sector. I am sure that today’s announcement will provide further relief to the gem and jewellery export industry.”

Agrawal added, “Piyush Goyal, minister of commerce & industry, has been very proactive in his support to the industry. He is concerned about the sector and has been taking several measures to facilitate ease of doing business. His leadership and guided direction has aided the gem and jewellery sector across several policy matters in recent times.”

The various new measures announced to boost exports from the country include:

  • Gem and jewellery is one of four special sectors chosen for organising Annual Mega Shopping Festivals in four cities around March 2020.
  • Special dispensation for facilitating and on-boarding handicraft artisans and cooperatives directly on e-commerce portals and enabling seamless exports. This move will bring in ease of doing business in the sector.
  • Mass enrolment of artisans across India with the help of ministry of textiles and organisations like Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED), CIE, etc. This would help the industry to be transparent and organised.

The GJEPC chairman also welcomed the other schemes announced by the government:

  • IGST refund to become fully electronic from the end of September 2019. Exporters had been complaining of delay in refunds. The new measure will help speed up refunds and also help the department to monitor the refunds.
  • Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) will be replaced by a more robust Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Product (RODTEP) by January 1st 2020. The gem and jewellery sector, which was not covered under MEIS, can pitch for assistance under RODTEP. A budget of I50,000 crore is projected for this scheme.
  • ECGC premium for MSME exporters will be moderated suitably and a budget of I1,700 crore per year is being earmarked for this initiative. This will be of immense help to the MSME exporters.
  • The Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for export credit are being revamped and an additional outlay of I36,000 crore to I68,000 crore is being earmarked under priority sector – consequently, availability of export finance will be eased.
  • To monitor export finance, an Inter-Ministerial Working Group under Department of Commerce, to keep track and review the export finance, is being constituted.
  • Online issuing of Certificate of Origin by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
  • For better utilisation of opportunities under the various Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), an FTA Utilisation Mission will be set up under the ministry of commerce to make exporters aware about the concessions available under various FTAs.

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