The Center is expected to announce a Rs. 2,500 crore scheme during the upcoming Union Budget, which will provide the funds to develop 50 districts as Export Hubs in India. This will, in turn, give a boost to manufacturing in the said districts, along with helping to find potential international buyers.
Each of such districts will receive Rs. 50 crore each and will be assessed on parameters such as plans for exports, efforts to plug infrastructure and logistics gaps, and cluster approach to exports. As it will be a centrally sponsored scheme, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has proposed that the Centre pays 60% of the estimated cost, with the rest borne by the respective states.
“District as Exports Hub will likely be a centrally sponsored scheme and may come up in the budget, if not before. These districts will be selected under the challenge route, and scores will be assigned based on parameters related to their preparedness.”A senior government official
The States will have to apply for evaluation and scoring, based on which they will be granted position in the list of districts that will be developed under the scheme. Not only will this promote rigorous efforts on part of the States, but will also develop export competitiveness.
“Districts are the production centres, and focussing on them to address supply-side challenges will go a long way in boosting and felicitating exports. It’s a more granular approach of moving from states to districts, which will reap huge dividends.”Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations
Sahai termed the scheme as ‘game changer’ for exports.
While the scheme was initially suggested for Rs. 10,000 crore, encompassing 200 districts, the Department of Expenditure recommended doing it in phases and mapping the actual impact first.
The Department of Commerce has also been implementing the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme since FY17-18, with the objective of assisting central and state government agencies in the creation of appropriate infrastructure for the growth of exports.