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Commerce Ministry shares list of items with ministries to cut imports

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NEW DELHI : The Commerce Ministry has shared a list of as many as 102 products whose imports are high and are increasing consistently such as coking coal, certain machinery, some chemicals, and digital cameras to different ministries to look at ways for enhancing their domestic capacity with an aim to reduce imports, an official said.

As part of an exercise to reduce the country’s import bill, the ministry has undertaken a detailed analysis of these 102 products for enhancing domestic production opportunities of those items.

According to the analysis, the import of these goods has been consistently increasing or have held high import shares across the long, medium and short terms.

The cumulative share of these items is 57.66 per cent in total import during the March-August 2021 period.

“These goods have domestic production opportunities,” the official said adding that the commerce ministry has suggested different departments and ministries products that are showing high import growth and may be prioritised for immediate interventions to increase local production.

Out of 102, 18 products have both high share and high import growth rates. These include gold, crude palm oil, integrated circuits, personal computers, urea, stainless steel scrap, refined copper, cameras, machines for transmission of voices and images, sunflower seed oil, and phosphoric acid.

The main objective of identification is to reduce their import dependence as their imports are growing consistently and have a significant share in the value of imports.

“As the data has indicated that these items have been demanded consistently for import in all periods, it is supply rigidities in the domestic economy that need to be corrected,” the official added.

Ministries and departments with whom the list has been shared include industry, IT and electronics, mines, heavy industry, pharmaceuticals, steel, oil and natural gas, fertiliser, telecommunication, shipping, food processing, and textiles.

India’s merchandise imports in April-October 2021 was USD 331.29 billion, an increase of 78.71 per cent over USD 185.38 billion in April-October 2020 and USD 286.07 billion in April-October 2019, according to preliminary data of the government.

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