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FIEO President calls for increased export development funds for MSMEs

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NEW DELHI : Ashwini Kumar, President, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), has expressed concerns over the grossly inadequate budgets allocated for market development schemes aimed at increasing exports.

He highlighted that the lack of sufficient marketing exposure is hindering the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the export sector, as reported.

According to Kumar, the Market Development Assistance and the Market Access Initiative schemes have a combined budget of only Rs 300 crore per annum, which is insufficient to promote India’s exports, which are expected to reach USD 900 billion.

He emphasised the need for a well-planned export development fund to support aggressive marketing efforts and increase the visibility of Indian products and services globally.

Kumar suggested that budgetary support equivalent to 1 percent of the preceding year’s export value in Indian rupees should be made available annually through a budget grant to the Department of Commerce. This would be crucial in achieving the target of USD 2,000 billion in exports by 2029-30.

The proposed export development fund, as per Kumar, should be designed to assist the MSME ecosystem, exporters, and industry associations in undertaking export promotional activities.

He stressed that FIEO places a strong focus on aggressive marketing to enhance the visibility of Indian products and services in the global market.

Highlighting the importance of research and development (R&D) for sustained export growth, Kumar stated that India’s spending on R&D, which is less than 1 percent of GDP, lags behind major nations like China, the United States, South Korea, and Israel.

He emphasised the vital role of R&D in enabling manufacturing and innovation, which is crucial for exports across all sectors, particularly in knowledge-based industries.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Red Sea crisis, which has led to increased freight costs and disrupted delivery schedules, Kumar remains optimistic about India’s export potential.

He believes that numerous opportunities are emerging for India, and the country has a great chance to double its exports.

FIEO’s export outlook for the fiscal year 2025 projects merchandise exports to reach USD 500-510 billion and exports in services to reach USD 390-400 billion.

The industry body also noted an uptick in technology-driven export sectors such as machinery, electrical and electronic, automobile, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.

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