The Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma at the 5th meeting of the Government-Industry Joint Task Force, expressed concern over the trade performance as exports in April-November 2012 declined by 5.9% to $ 189.2 billion and assured the Industry that measure to support exporters will be announced by December 24.
He stated that the slowdown in manufacturing has huge implications in terms of employment and social cohesion and industry has voiced its concern including cost of manufacturing, weak disbursement of credit and high transaction costs. Further stating, the minister said that he intends to hold the 1st meeting of the Manufacturing Industry Promotion Board in the near future to review the state of this very critical sector as well as the progress in the implementation of the National Manufacturing Policy. Commerce minister pointed out that the nature of manufacturing, changes to more capital intensive manufacturing, the rate of growth to sustain employment would have to be at least 12%-15%.
On SEZ policy Anand Sharma said that to make this policy more attractive the department is in the process to finalisation of the revised SEZ policy in consultation with the ministry of finance and hoped that before the next Budget, the ministry will be able to announce the changes. The Minister pointed out that the Government has taken some concrete measures for reviving the investment sentiments, both domestic and foreign front like FDI in multi brands retail upto 51% while stipulating that at least half of the investment will go for creating backend infrastructure.