FM announces to implement an action plan to reduce turn-around time at airports and ports by December

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Saturday, said that government will further leverage technology for timely completion of the ongoing initiatives to reduce ‘Time to export’, through seamless process digitisation of all export clearances, in the third press conference held to announce measures to boost the country’s declining economy.

An Inter-Ministerial Group will be made accountable for its implementation, said the minister.

The FM said that an action plan is prepared to align time-to-export/turn-around-time at airports and ports as per the international standards. The plan will be implemented by December this year.

According to the plan, actual turnaround times will be published on a real-time basis of each port and airport in order to give them a push for improving their performance.

Apart from this, below are a few more important announcements pertaining to exports that have been made in the press conference –

  • An extended scheme for Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) will replace the existing Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). The existing MEIS for textile will continue up to December 31st, 2019. Currently, textiles and all other sectors enjoy incentives up to 2% over MEIS and will transit into RoDTEP from 1.1.2020.
  • A fully electronic refund module (FORM GSAT RFD-01) will be implemented for monitoring and speeding up the refund of ITC nearing completion.  The automated refund module will be implemented by the end of September 2019.
  • Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) will expand the scope of ECIS by offering higher insurance cover to banks lending working capital for exports. Costing around INR 1700 crores per annum, the policy will enable a reduction in the overall cost of export credit including interest rates, especially to MSMEs.
  • Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for export credit have been examined and enabling guidelines are under consideration of RBI. The revised PSL will release an additional amount of INR 36,000 crores to INR 68,000 crores.
  • Export Finance will be actively monitored by an Inter-Ministerial Working Group in the Department of Commerce. A dashboard will be there to track and export finance will be reviewed with institutions and active intervention will be carried out.
  • A special Free Trade Agreement Utilisation Mission will be set up which will be headed by a senior officer in the Department of Commerce. The Mission will work exclusively with FIEO and export houses to utilise concessional tariffs in each FTA. This also will enhance awareness of preferential duty benefits among MSMEs, disseminate and facilitate compliance requirements (Rules of Origin/ Certificate of Origin, etc.) under FTAs for importers and exporters, by setting goals for FTA utilization and putting in place an effective FTA monitoring system.

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