Interview with Ashok Rajani

Face2Face
Ashok Rajani
Ashok Rajani
Chairman
AEPC
AEPC

Which activities will AEPC be focusing on in 2017?

The current market sentiments are not upbeat. In fact India's RMG export to the world during April-November of 2016-17 was to the tune of USD 10962.5 million, a decline of 0.2 per cent compared to the same period of previous financial year. 

Not withstanding the present slump, we are targeting double digit growth in 2017, in order to meet the export targets envisaged by the Prime Minister while he announced the special package. Frankly, in 2016 also, we put every effort to take the policy support to the exporters and sensitise them on its benefits and how to avail them. We reached out to over 1000 exporters across India and sent out several mailers and updates on the various policy announcements, procedural details, etc.

The forthcoming India International Garment Fair (IIGF) is a platform for networking, influencing buyer sentiments and demonstrating our product strengths. We intend to fully leverage its potential in improving sourcing from India.   

Besides this, 3 major initiatives are being worked upon by the export promotion team. These are :
1)      Renewed focus on EU through a "Mega India Show" in a prominent EU country in 2017
2)     Unlocking potential of clusters through customized intervention programme and multi level engagement with state governments  
3)     Organising product specific fairs to tap product specific growth potential

The Union government announced a Rs 6,000-crore package for the garment industry in June 2016. Are we already seeing the benefits of the package or the result is yet to be seen on ground? If not yet, how much more time will it take to see the effect?

In this regard I would like to point that there was optimism with exports picking up between August and October. But with the delays in roll out of package, non implementation of some of the important support announced and of course the stagnation in EU and US markets,  the growth potential have been curtailed . 

The growth witnessed during the months of August, September and October was proof enough that the package is an answer to the industry need for support. However, the impact will be more visible once it is rolled out in totality.

What are your expectations from the Union Budget 2017 to be announced in February?

The industry has been benefitted by the special package for the garment industry, announced in June 2016, which aims at facilitating new investment, exports and employment. We expect the budget to supplement it, taking the introduction of GST also this year.

Some of the expectations from the budget are : 
  • Scaling up should be incentivised - Cap of INR 50 crore should be removed under ATUF scheme for attracting more investment in the industry.
  • Condition of term loan component of 50 per cent should not be imposed since there is no interest subsidy for the loans being taken from the banks.
  • Clubbing of license should be permitted under annual advance license for the enhanced Duty Drawback Scheme.
  • Funds should be released for Scheme for Rebate of State Levies (ROSL) immediately.
  • The entire 12 per cent PF should be contributed by central government for removing the need for additional registration and compliance requirement of payment of employer's PF contribution first and then taking its refund.
  • Some of the notifications pending under the special package like the notification for optional deduction of EPF for the employees less than INR 15,000 per month should be issued.
  • Drawback benefits and procedures should remain unchanged under GST regime.

Published on: 18/01/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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