Engineering exporters have sought a technology upgradation fund from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Budget for boosting competitiveness in view of an ambitious exports target of $125 billion by FY14 for the sector.
"...Its high time they must do something. Without technology upgradation fund, competing [with other countries like China] will be very difficult. We have submitted it to the Ministry," Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) Executive Director R Maitra told PTI.
In its strategy paper, the Commerce ministry has set an exports target of $500 billion by FY14. For engineering sector which accounts for about one-fourth of the country's total merchandise shipments, a target of $125 billion been fixed for the period.
Maitra said the council has submitted its plan to the Finance Ministry for a technology upgradation corpus which would be monitored both by the industry and government.
"...Industry has to contribute certain per cent, balance has to come as a soft loan or interest free loan from the government," he said.
Engineering exports grew by 21% year-on-year to $49.7 billion during April-January of this fiscal.
Maitra said the exporting community "do not forsee much" growth during this fiscal due to global demand slowdown.
"The engineering exports in this fiscal will remain at $60 billion as they were in FY11," he added.
He also raised concerns over the impact of recent rupee fluctuations on the sector's growth.
During the April-January period this fiscal, overall exports aggregated $242.8 billion, a year-on-year growth of 25%, thanks to the surge witnessed in the early months of the fiscal.
From a peak of 82% in July, export growth slipped to 44.25% in August, 36.36% in September and 10.8% in October.