Performance review of export promotion councils to start soon

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The government will soon begin a performance-based evaluation of over two dozen export promotion councils in the country as a follow-up to the Prime Minister’s Office’s direction that it should ascertain ways to boost exports, according to a senior official. The export promotion councils (EPCs) found falling short of the export targets could face closure or undergo restructuring. The official cited earlier told ET that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had some time ago suggested a check to see if any of the EPCs need support in order to boost exports. “The Niti Aayog then decided to rank these councils and a few meetings have been held. This is work in progress,” the official said.

Another official ET spoke with said the governance and technical capabilities of EPCs are now being subjected to evaluation based on increasing the share of Indian exports in the product markets covered by these EPCs. “Those EPCs unable to achieve mutually agreed upon targets for increasing market share could be closed down or restructured,” the official said. Niti Aayog, the government’s premier think tank, in collaboration with the commerce ministry, is evaluating the export promotion councils, following which it will rank them as part of its ongoing policy of developing indices and ranking on real-time basis. At present, there are 14 EPCs under the department of commerce and 11 under the textiles ministry.

Besides promoting and developing Indian exports, these councils are also the registering authorities for exporters. Each council is responsible for promotion of a particular group of products or projects or services. The government funds EPCs under the Market Access Initiative (MAI) and Marketing Development Assistance scheme to help them promote exports. In 2018-19, the government spent Rs 270 crore on MAI and has earmarked Rs 300 crore for the current fiscal. Some of the parameters being considered for evaluation include the increase in export share of these councils, the extent of penetration into existing markets, and efforts to explore and enter new markets. India exported $331.02 billion worth of merchandise in FY19, surpassing the earlier peak of $314.4 billion achieved in 2013-14, the commerce ministry had said earlier this month, attributing the lower exports in the intervening years to global slowdown.

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