• India's product exports hitting the $400 billion, embarks new milestones for country.


    Even after India established trade and commerce links with its neighbours and ASEAN countries, this has faced challenges in the region in unlocking its vast export potential. 

    Digital Desk: Given the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's merchandise exports increased by 37% from 292 billion dollars in 2020-21 to 400 billion dollars nine days before the end of the current fiscal year, which is an incredible feat. The Northeast area accounts for only 0.156 per cent of the country's overall exports, addressing the highlighted geographical discrepancies.  The Central Government hailed the achievement as a watershed moment in the campaign Local Goes Global in India's Atmanirbhar Bharat journey and the rising popularity of 'Make in India' products. Official data manifests the major commodity groups covering 73.77% of the total exports indicating positive growth in February 2022 over the corresponding month of the previous year are engineering goods hold (31.34%), petroleum products (66.29%), gems and jewellery (15.79%), organic and inorganic chemicals (24.74%), readymade garments of all textiles (18.54%), electronic goods (33.77%), cotton yarn/ fabrics/ made-ups handloom products etc., (32.84%), rice (0.19%) and plastic and linoleum (25.69%). Tea production in Assam accounts for more than 50 per cent of the country's total. Tea's omission from the list of top significant commodities contributing to the export growth storey, on the other side, speaks eloquently about the industry's new reality. Despite the increase in export volume, disaggregated data reveal that not all commodities are fetching more incredible prices. The value of tea exports decreased by 1.28 per cent from Rs 5214 crore in April 2020 to Rs 5148.40 crore in April 2021 to February 2022. In its report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce noted that Assam alone accounted for 415.6 million dollars of the total exports from eight north-eastern states valued at 455.2 million dollars in 2020-21, indicating that the region's portion of India's export trade is minimal.  An odd position is given that the region shares 98 per cent of its international borders with neighbouring nations such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Nepal, and only 2% of its land border with the rest of India. The legislative group proposes that a strategy be developed that focuses on reducing trade ecosystem impediments, including infrastructure and logistical flaws, and urges the region's strong ties with mainland traders and the development of a robust land-based trade across borders should be supplemented to improve local economies. Organic farming's USP can help the region's agricultural exports, but this information is limited to training programmes, workshops, and academic debates.  The reopening of border haats in the area with Bangladesh, which was blocked following the pandemic's onset, is likely to boost exports to Bangladesh. The Motor Vehicle Agreement between India, Bangladesh, and Nepal will be operationalized under the BBIN sub-regional architecture, allowing for the speedier flow of commodities from the region to these countries. The successful passage of cargo vessels through the Brahmaputra via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol routes between Pandu and Patna has further proved the region's export potential. Individual success stories of organic agriculture and horticulture produce exporting at large shipping container volumes are not apparent. Despite the central government's push for trans-border connectivity in the region, including multimodal connectivity projects, seamless connectivity from organic farms to export hubs with logistics such as cold storage, cold chain, and processing, packaging units along the value chain is still a long way off. Diverse parties in the export trade are functioning in compartments due to a lack of synergies across different central ministries, state departments, and inter-state coordination among the region's states. States in the region can infuse new vibrancy into the ecosystem by evaluating their policies on ease of doing business to remove obstacles and easing credit linkage with an eye on export business. Using the Central Government's one district product strategy, the region's export basket is diversified with unique high-value products ranging from organic agricultural and horticultural produce, traditional handloom and handicraft items, and processed foods. More export promotion industrial parks and agricultural-horticultural export processing centres with all-weather access to land custom stations or integrated checkpoints are needed to increase export volumes and value in the region.  It's time for the area to leap from policy initiatives to a strategic action plan with a clear goal of increasing goods and service exports. Also Read: Petrol & Diesel prices increases again across India, details here new pca banner

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