Govt. of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Directorate of Foreign Trade convened a meeting to discuss various issues related to promotion of exports and domestic manufacturing on 6th June, 2019 at New Delhi. Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal chaired the meeting alongwith Hardeep Singh Puri and Som Prakash, Hon’ble Union Ministers of State for Commerce & Industry. Senior officials such as Secretary Commerce, Dr. Anup Wadhawan, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, Secretary Revenue Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, Director General of Foreign Trade and other senior officers of various Government departments were present during the meeting.

Major industry representatives from CII, FICCI, ASSOCHEM, Exim Banks, ECGC, and Chairmen of EPCs were also present informed Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH. While speaking during meeting, the Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry emphasised that for achieving high jump in exports, State Government and Central Government should make joint efforts. The agenda of the Government is ‘’Sab Ka Saath Sabka Vikas’’. CIM stressed that State level export strategy should be prepared and meeting of Export Commissioners alongwith Central Government officers should be held periodically to address the issues pertaining to export. The Hon’ble Minister further suggested identifying the products and markets for export so that a special status for a policy may be prepared. CIM also proposed to provide export credit in foreign currency through banks.

Ravi K Passi, Chairman presented the concerns of the handicrafts sector. The issues presented to the Commerce Minister included enhancement in allocation of fund under MAI scheme based on export performance, reimbursement of airfare and hotel accommodation to the buyers from major and developed countries should also be brought under the MAI guidelines rather than markets only from LAC, CIS, Africa and South East Asian countries, Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies scheme which is available for textiles exporters should also be given to handicrafts exporters to compensate the duty drawback rates which have been reduced due to GST, concessional rate of interest at 3 per cent should also be considered in addition to present interest subvention, sale to foreign tourist should be considered as deemed export, the start-ups may be given support in terms of marketing, identification of new and emerging markets by allocating a separate fund to give boost to new generation, a strategy should be prepared to take advantage of US-China trade war and as handicrafts sector is a large employment provider to skilled and unskilled in the country and every less foreign exchange is used in the manufacturing process, Handicrafts sector should be given special consideration for technology support and design innovation said Ravi K Passi, Chairman – EPCH. OP Prahladka, Former Chairman – EPCH was also present during the Board of Trade meeting.

Kumar, DG- EPCH informed that EPCH have also requested the Commerce Minister for formation of an empowered Senior Decision Making Group comprising the representatives from Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Textiles, DGFT and Customs to resolve the day-to-day issues pertaining to handicrafts sector.

The exports of handicrafts sector during 2018-19 is estimated to be Rs. 26590.25 cr and $3803.55 mn registering a growth of 15.46 per cent (Rupee term) and 6.44 per cent (dollar term) over the same period last year. Ravi K Passi after the meeting informed that Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry is very positive to support the export sector.