Centre mulls interest subsidies to boost exports

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre was looking into reasons for decline in merchandise exports since December 2014 and plans to ‘arrest the fall’ by extending interest subsidy and other incentives.

“I can see that the fall (in goods exports) is getting arrested and pick-up is slowly showing up. The pick-up may be slow but the bottoming out has happened. From now, it (exports) will show a slow but steady rise.... It is still a situation where we have to do a lot more to allow it (exports) to pick up,” Ms.Sitharaman told the media during a FICCI event on Friday.

Merchandise exports have been shrinking for 18 consecutive months since December 2014 but the contraction in May 2016 at (-) 0.79 per cent was at the slowest pace since then.


Sector-wise study

The Minister said the government was studying sector-wise contraction in exports in a bid toextend help through interest subsidy and other incentives.

“It is a time when help will have to be extended whether in the form of interest subvention or in the form of any kind of incentives for exports. We have been looking at (exports) sectorally,” she said.

Sugar levy

On the 20 per cent duty imposed on sugar exports, Ms. Sitharaman said it was done to ensure greater availability of the commodity in the domestic market. “We do not want any speculative rise in sugar prices,” she said.

Queried whether the government is mulling extending the Minimum Import Price on steel beyond August, Ms. Sitharaman said her ministry would “talk” about it at the appropriate moment.