• States to be judged on their performance in providing logistical support to companies

    The government is bringing back a scheme to help states build their export infrastructure by providing financial support. The proposed Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (Ties) will supplement states’ efforts to create export infrastructure.

    “We are devising means to fund states’ infrastructure requirements for trade,” said commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the second meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion here on Thursday.

    The government had done away with a similar scheme called the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports (Aside) in 2015. The minister said that 17 states have aligned their export strategies ith the Centre’s foreign trade policy.

    The commerce department, along with others, will also map the export potential of various states.

    Logistics rankings
    In addition to annual ease of doing business ranking of states, the industry department will now rank them on their performance in providing logistical support to companies.

    The exercise will begin this year and aims to give potential investors an idea of what to expect from a state in terms of logistics when they take their investment decisions.

    “We will rank states on their logistics readiness. There can be little progress on trade facilitation unless states are prepared with plans to manage logistics well, create a logistics hub and have trained manpower to handle it,” Sitharaman said.

    The ranking will be based on the actual performance and not merely on the presence of logistics in a state. It will also be based on public feedback.

    GST refunds
    On commerce ministry’s request to keep out of the goods and services tax ambit the imports of capital goods used as input for exports, Sitharaman said the finance ministry has assured that 90 per cent of the refunds made for claims under such schemes would be made within a week’s time and interest would be paid in case of delays.

    The commerce ministry had on January 3 sought tax exemptions for import of raw material under the Advance Authorisation Scheme and import of capital goods under Export Promotion Capital Goods authorisation scheme.

    It had requested an outright initial exemption for exporters rather than making them pay taxes first and then seek refunds, as refunds usually take six to eight months. James White Jersey

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