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The  draft Agri Export Policy circulated by the Commerce Ministry proposed that consultation among stakeholders and Ministries will be initiated to identify commodities which are essential from food security perspective and barring these, the effort would be to ensure that no other produce is brought under any kind of export restrictions. The Commerce Ministry has sought to put an end to any kind of export restriction — including minimum export price (MEP) and export duty — on commodities not categorized as essential in order to build a more stable trade policy regime.

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 “India is seen as a source of high quality agricultural products in many developing nations and ASEAN economies and changes in export regime on ground of domestic price fluctuations, religious and social belief can have long-term repercussions. This is particularly important for commodities such as onions, rice, wheat, oilseeds, pulses and sugar,” the draft stated.

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Export restrictions could be ended straight away on processed agricultural products and all kinds of organic products, and a policy assurance given that these would not be brought under the ambit of any kind of export restriction such as MEP, export duty, export ban, etc even though the primary agricultural product or non-organic agricultural product is brought under some kind of export restrictions, the draft said.

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The National Agriculture Export Policy is being formulated in line with the vision to double the farmer’s income and increase the share of agricultural exports from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2022.

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While the draft policy has been prepared after consultations with stakeholders, it has been put up for wider consultations and comments have been invited till April 5, 2018, following which the final policy would be drafted.

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To minimize rejections on quality issues — sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) barriers — the draft proposes to develop a common portal to monitor all export rejections and provide a platform to different nodal agencies to take up a root cause analysis, take corrective action and if required, respond to the partner country regarding action taken.

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It suggests creation of an institutional mechanism under the aegis of Department of Commerce with representation of relevant Ministries and Agencies to address India’s market access request, calibrate it with the trading partner’s market access request for accessing the Indian market and quickly respond to SPS/TBT barriers.

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Highlighting the need to bring about reforms in APMC Act and streamlining of Mandi fee, the draft proposed using the DGFT field offices, Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Boards and Industry Associations to act as advocacy forum for reform by all the States.

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The draft policy also talks about development of export-centric clusters, promoting value added exports through incentives, special focus on value added exports of organic products, developing uniform packaging for organic products, marketing and promotion of ‘produce in India’ through Geographical Indication (GI) registration and putting in place post-harvest infrastructure support for smooth logistical movement of agri produce.

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Chander Mohan 

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Krishi Jagran

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