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Developing E-commerce hubs to boost exports may figure in ministry’s 100-day agenda of new Govt

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NEW DELHI : Developing E-commerce hubs in the country to further promote India’s exports through online medium are expected to figure in the commerce ministry’s 100-day agenda roadmap for the new government, an official said.

The commerce ministry’s arm DGFT is already working with the RBI and concerned ministries, including the finance ministry, on several steps to promote exports through e-commerce medium as huge export opportunities are there in the sector.

The exercise assumes significance as ministries have been asked to prepare a 100-day plan for the new government.

The seven-phase Lok Sabha polls, the world’s biggest election exercise, kicked off on April 19 with the counting of votes set to take place on June 4. The official said that these hubs can help further promote exports through e-commerce mediums.

According to an industry expert, in such hubs, export clearances can be facilitated. Besides, it can also have warehousing facilities, customs clearance, returns processing, labelling, testing and repackaging.

“It will be a kind of bonded zone which will facilitate exports and imports of e-commerce cargo and to a large extent address the problem of re-imports because in e-commerce, about 25 per cent of goods are re-imported. These hubs are also kind of export-oriented units and the private sector will have to come forward for developing these hubs,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said.

Last year, the cross-border e-commerce trade was about USD 800 billion and it is estimated to reach USD 2 trillion by 2030.

Recently, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Sarangi has said that there is a huge potential to increase exports through e-commerce medium. Last year, the cross-border e-commerce trade was about USD 800 billion and is estimated to reach USD 2 trillion by 2030.

“We need to reorient our policies to facilitate an e-commerce ecosystem and have a larger pie in the e-commerce exports,” Sarangi has said, adding that China’s e-commerce exports are about USD 350 billion, whereas India’s shipments through online medium is only USD 2 billion.

A report by economic think tank GTRI India’s e-commerce exports have the potential to reach USD 350 billion by 2030, but banking issues hinder growth and increase operational costs.

India’s e-commerce industry is driven primarily by small businesses that export products valued between USD 25 and USD 1,000. The popular items include Handicrafts, art, books, ready-made garments, imitation jewellery, gems and jewellery, home décor, ayurveda products and sports goods. These niche products have found a market due to their unique artisanal values, the report has said.

India has set a target of USD 1 trillion of merchandise exports by 2030 and cross-border E-commerce trade has been identified as a source to meet this aim.

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