Exports to grow by 15% next fiscal: Govt



Exports to grow by 15% next fiscal: Govt New Delhi: The government on Wednesday expressed confidence that exports, which have been falling for over a year now due to the global slowdown, would grow by 15 percent next fiscal and the pace of decline has already been arrested.

"The government expects the position to improve in the coming months," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

Recalling the steps taken by the government and the Reserve Bank to neutralise the impact of the global financial meltdown on the country's exports, the Minister said India's exports would grow by 15 percent during the next fiscal despite global recession.

India's exports have been falling since October 2008, though the pace of decline had been arrested in recent months.

The country's merchandise exports, which had declined by 38.9 percent in May 2009, Sharma said, have started showing signs of improvements and the downturn has been arrested to a single digit level (6.6 percent) in October this year.

Exports fell short by USD 11 billion of target of USD 200 billion in 2008-09 due to slump in global demand. Exports stood at USD 189 billion in the last fiscal.

During April-October this year, the oveaseas shipments declined by 26 per cent to USD 91 billion compared to USD 123 billion in the same period last year.

The progressive reduction in the decline, Sharma said, "indicates that while the impact of global recession is still continuing on our exports ... the steps taken by the government and RBI are contributing to arrest the steep decline in exports.

He further said that sectors like handicraft, handloom and gems and jewellery sectors suffered badly due to recession and witnessed job crunch between October 2008 and March 2009.

Answering a supplementary on SEZs, Sharma said though the impact of recession on them cannot be ruled out, exports from SEZs during the first two quarters of the current fiscal has been Rs 89,750 crore against Rs 48,838 crore during the corresponding period of 2008-09, marking an 84 percent rise.

He informed the House that till date 570 SEZs have been approved by the Centre in consonance with state governments.

The minister also said that as per rules SEZ units are required to submit annual performance reports and developers are required to submit quarterly reports on their performance.

These are scrutinised by the development commissioners of the concerned SEZs.

PTI