In a major boost to exports taking place through online platforms, the government has increased the export incentives to rs. 5 lakh per consignment from rs. 25,000 earlier. The relaxed norms will benefit export of handloom products, books and periodicals, leather footwear, toys and customised fashion garments through courier or foreign post offices using e-commerce. In a notification, the government said that exports of goods through courier or foreign post offices of value upto rs. 5 lakh per consignment shall be entitled for rewards under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS).

The proposal has been made in the wake of exporters finding the present cap too low and restricting them from getting duty benefits on imports of inputs and goods. Incentives under the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 are offered to these six categories if they are hosted on a website and dispatched through courier or postal mode. “This is the right step to promote retail ecommerce exports. These, along with procedural changes will help industry,” said Ajay Sahai, Director General of Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

To give benefits to small exporters, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade has defined “e-commerce” as the buying and selling of goods and services, including digital products, conducted over digital and electronic networks. “With the enhancement of the limit, the handicrafts exporters who are doing business through e-commerce will be benefited and many more will be encouraged to follow them,” said Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director, Export Promotion Council for handicrafts.

Moreover, the value of items shipped through couriers is often not captured in export data because they are categorised as samples or gifts as exporters call them samples because under the normal export route, they would have to file shipping bills and are subject to checks by custom officials, which is cumbersome, especially for small exporters with low-value shipments.