On 4 January 2021, NASSCOM submitted a representation to the Commerce Secretary, requesting that certain actions be taken by the government in the review of the current Foreign Trade Policy 2015 – 2020 (FTP) that will significantly boost the performance of IT/ITeS industry in India.
Earlier, NASSCOM had interacted with the Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry regarding the review of the FTP (read details here) and had submitted detailed response to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade on the review of the FTP (read details here).
In the representation, NASSCOM made the following suggestions:
1. e-Commerce: e-commerce exports present an opportunity for Indian exporters to expand their market access with minimal upfront costs, by leveraging the infrastructure already in existence. This opportunity can be better realised by including e-commerce exporters for various benefits provided by the FTP. Therefore, FTP should focus on encouraging e-commerce exports by placing specific reference for the inclusion of e-commerce exports, in the following manner:
- Inclusion of e-commerce exports platforms for entitlement of benefits under Niryat Bandhu Scheme
- Establishment of dedicated e-commerce export promotion cells within existing export promotion councils
- Extending Market Access Initiative (MAI) support to individual e-commerce exporters
- Establishment of e-Commerce Export Zones to promote development & growth of MSMEs
- e-Commerce Authorised Economic Operator programme
- Import-duty exemption for re-import of unsold/returned goods sold through e-commerce exports
2. Special Economic Zones (SEZ): Currently (as per para 6.07(b) of the Handbook of Procedures), only laptops, computers and video projection systems are allowed to be taken out of the premises of a unit for working upon by employees. There are many other Information Technology (IT) assets which are needed by the employees in a work-from-home situation. Accordingly, the list of IT assets should be reviewed and made more exhaustive. This will significantly help the SEZ units in carrying out their functions and activities, thus promoting India’s exports and further contributing towards the growth of the economy.
3. Services Export Incentive Scheme (SEIS): Since inception, SEIS has provided huge fillip and much needed support to the service industry. However, with growing competition from countries like China, Philippines etc., the continuation of SEIS is seen as a critical factor for Indian exporters to retain their competitive advantage. Therefore, considering the significance of the benefits from SEIS scheme, this scheme should be continued under the new FTP. Moreover, currently STPI units cannot avail of SEIS benefits, which has put them in a significantly non-competitive position as compared to units in SEZs and domestic tariff area. Accordingly, FTP should be revised to extend SEIS benefits to the new FTP as well as include STPI units within the benefits of SEIS.
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