“Efforts on to double exports from USD 321 billion” (January 28). The focus on five key sectors to push exports is welcome. There is a good scope to double the exports of agro-products and plantations provided some reforms are carried out. Apart from the export policy which should be fine-tuned, several other enablers needs a relook — government incentives to increase exports, remunerative prices for growers and the removal of certain quantitative restrictions.
Last month, the Director General of Foreign Trade issued a notification raising export incentive from 5 to 10 per cent for onion exports through the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS). The move is indeed a wise step considering the volatile onion prices over the past six months in the domestic mandis. The intention, as stated in the notification, is to get better prices and to stabilise domestic prices of onions.
The export incentive for fresh onions was zero before July 2018 when it was introduced at 5 per cent. With the current increase, the commodity enjoys one of the highest incentives in the list of agro exports. This timely rise in MEIS rate for onions would help the farmers — who have recently harvested their crop and eyeing better prices which the domestic market is not providing —in a big way.
Although higher incentives for exports of agro-commodities need to be reviewed as often as possible, some restrictions should also be done away with. This will help to double the exports of onions. The Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority should also look in this by urging the commerce and agriculture ministries to step in and remove the quantitative restrictions.
A Sathyanarayana New Delhi
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