Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 28, 2004
Industry & Economy
Exports & Imports
Kerala's draft export policy envisions bigger share
Thiruvananthapuram , June 27
INCREASING the State's contribution to the country's exports from the current 3 per cent to 10 per cent by 2007 is among the important objectives outlined in the State's draft export policy.
The document, which is available for comment on the Web site of the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (www.kinfra.com) , presents a range of proposals to increase the State's exports.
It recommends the creation of a special economic zone around the Cochin Port and the establishment of export promotion industrial parks in important districts of the State. At the policy level, the Government has already constituted a State Level Export Promotion Committee, while it plans to set up a committee for inter-departmental coordination, the document points out.
Introduction of a `commercially important person' card is among the schemes suggested to boost Kerala's exports. According to the draft export policy, this initiative will facilitate hassle-free clearances for the possessors of these cards, subject to certain rules. To qualify for these `commercially important person' cards, an exporter will have to meet certain set criteria, the document adds. Those who get this card will be entitled to minimum inspection and speedy clearance by all departments of the State Government, the document suggests.
Similarly, Kerala's draft export policy also presents a proposal to issue `gold cards' to entrepreneurs who export $25,000 worth of goods every year. Those who receive this card will be eligible for several benefits, including preferential allotment of land at various industrial parks in the State. And in an attempt to ensure faster movement of goods, the draft policy suggests the creation of a `green channel' facility for containers at sales tax check posts.
In an effort to improve commodity exports, the draft export policy proposes the creation of a market information system for both entrepreneurs and farmers. It also recommends the establishment of two inland container depots and suggests that all manufacturing units be encouraged to obtain ISO certification.
Another important suggestion is a proposal to create a special economic zone in Alappuzha district for the coir industry.
For spices, the document focuses on steps to improve safety and quality, while for cashew it suggests modification of the tax structure to reduce rates on cashew, and research and development activities to develop cashew products. The document also proposes establishment of warehouses and quality-testing labs for rubber and rubber-based products. Besides, it lists several measures to improve both coir and seafood exports.
Promoting the export of organically-grown fruits and vegetables, expediting the development of agro-export zones and improving the information resources available at the `Kisan call centre' located at the Technopark-Thiruvananthapuram are among the steps suggested to improve agricultural exports.
Export of handloom fabric, handicrafts, agro-machinery, oleoresins, gems and jewellery are some other areas that find a mention in the draft export policy. The draft policy also outlines a series of measures to enhance export of Kerala's ethic food preparations and puts forward a series of schemes to improve exports from the IT sector.
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