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Move to involve States in export efforts

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, June 12

IN a bid to ensure greater involvement of States and Union territories in the country's export effort, the Union Government, in a major initiative, has allocated Rs 330 crore for `assistance to states for the development of infrastructure for exports' (ASIDE) and other allied activities during the current fiscal.

This represents a record 12-fold increase from the level of Rs 165 crore spent for the same purpose during the last six years. Of the Rs 330 crore allocated for the current year, Rs 160 crore has already been released during the first quarter under the ASIDE scheme. This scheme is the single most important initiative launched by the Government to involve the states in export efforts. The States have been advised to speed up utilisation under the scheme and designate a nodal agency for the purpose.

This was disclosed at a conference on export promotion efforts, which was held with the chief secretaries of States and Union territories under the chairmanship of the Commerce Secretary, Mr Dipak Chatterjee, here on Wednesday evening. During the discussions, the importance of a much greater involvement of States in the export promotion efforts was underlined, especially in view of the fact that exports contribute directly to the accelerated economic development of the states.

At the meeting, it was noted that as a part of the Centre's commitment to assist states in overcoming the existing constraints to their export efforts, the Ministry has initiated a series of schemes in the recent past such as ASIDE, which was introduced in 2001-02, the setting up of special economic zones (SEZs) announced in March 2001 and the setting up of agri export zones.

The State governments have also been requested to set up institutional mechanisms like the export promotion councils (EPCs) under the chairmanship of chief ministers along with state-level export promotion committees under the chairmanship of the chief secretaries for better implementation of the various schemes. The states have also been urged to put in place export policies based on export promotion plans, in consultation with the EPCs concerned, for the major commodities exported by them.

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