ANSWER: Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme
Centre will tie up with States to roll out new scheme called TIES or Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme to boost infrastructure.
States will develop own export strategy in alignment with the national foreign trade policy, as well as enhance co-operation with Central agencies to set up common facilities for testing, certification, trace-back, packaging and labelling.
This announcement was made as most states want a central scheme which supports export infrastructure.
Indian roads carry nearly 65 per cent cargo against the global trend where railway is the major contributor.
Therefore the States should focus on improving the last mile connectivity of major exporting hubs to Inland Container Depot/Ports. Quality of roads including their load bearing capacity may be upgraded for smooth transit of export goods
States should cooperate with the Centre for setting up common facilities like testing labs and training institutes as well as to ensure packaging and storage support to the Indian industry.
So far only 17 States (of the 29 States and seven Union Territories in the country) have prepared their export strategy,
Meanwhile, the Centre has decided to soon bring out a Logistics Performance Index to rank states on steps taken to facilitate trade and improve logistics.
Measures in the pipeline include expediting the proposal for a north east corridor to improve connectivity with south east Asian countries and exports to that region.
The move assumes significance as the "Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities (ASIDE) Scheme" shifted to states on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
ASIDE provides for an outlay for development of export infrastructure in states. TIES is an entirely different initiative, effort and scheme. ASIDE scheme that was discontinued by the Centre in 2015-16, but with different features.
States will also be ranked by the Centre on their logistics performance beginning this year.
The ASIDE scheme was given up by the Centre when the States’ share in net proceeds of the Union tax revenues was increased to 42 per cent from 32 per cent in line with the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations.
The Revenue Department under the Union Finance Ministry has extended SWIFT (single window interface for facilitation of trade), a single window customs clearance facility for export consignments as well.
Know More About SWIFT
- Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has launched ‘SWIFT’, an initiative to speed up clearances for consignments and improve ‘ease of doing business.’
- Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) provides a single-point interface for clearance.
- It is expected to reduce documentation and costs.
- It is expected to cover and benefit over 97 per cent of India’s imports.
- Importers will not need to run around to get approvals from multiple government agencies for their consignments.
- The single window connects over 50 offices of six government agencies with the Indian customs department.
- These are the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI); Department of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage; Drug Controller; Animal Quarantine; Wild Life Crime Control Bureau and Textile Committee.
- The launch of SWIFT is a big step because there are very few administrations in the world that had managed to put this in place.
- Among the countries that have launched single-window interface are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.