Govt to Col­lect On­line Ship­ment Data to Of­fer In­cen­tives to Ex­porters

Move’s be­ing in­tro­duced a year af­ter govt pro­vided ex­port in­cen­tives in For­eign Trade Pol­icy of 2015-20

The Economic Times - - Companies - Kir­tika.Suneja@ times­group.com

AJAY SA­HAI Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, FIEO Govt can get data only if ex­porters ap­ply for ben­e­fits un­der MEIS. But at present, the ben­e­fit is much less than the cost. We need to de­vise a dif­fer­ent pro­ce­dure to cal­cu­late ecom­merce ship­ments as nor­mal com­mer­cial ones and not as sam­ples

New Delhi: Af­ter putting in place a def­i­ni­tion for ‘mar­ket­place,’ the govern­ment now plans to tap data on over­seas on­line sales as part of ef­forts to boost out­bound ship­ments through ecom­merce plat­forms and chan­nel ben­e­fits to th­ese ded­i­cated ex­porters.

So far there have been var­i­ous stud­ies on im­ports through ecom­merce plat­forms and none on ex­ports. A study by PayPal pegged In­dia’s spend­ing on shop­ping on­line from other coun­tries at .₹ 54,700 crore in 2015, which is likely to grow by 78.5% in 2016.

“The soft­ware for ecom­merce ex­ports is ready…we hope to cap­ture some data through this to give ben­e­fits to small ex­porters,” said an of­fi­cial aware of the de­vel­op­ment.

The need for such a sys­tem is press­ing. The value of items shipped through couri­ers is of­ten not cap­tured in ex­port data be­cause they are cat­e­gorised as sam­ples or gifts.

Ex­porters call them sam­ples be­cause un­der the nor­mal ex­port route, they would have to file ship­ping bills and are sub­ject to checks by cus­tom of­fi­cials, which is cum­ber­some, es­pe­cially for small ex­porters with low-value ship­ments. “The soft­ware will do away with the prob­lem. We might even give duty draw­backs for ecom­merce ex­ports,” the of­fi­cial said.

To give ben­e­fits to small ex­porters, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of For­eign Trade has de­fined “ecom­merce” as the buy­ing and sell­ing of goods and ser­vices, in­clud­ing dig­i­tal prod­ucts, con­ducted over dig­i­tal and elec­tronic net­works.

Th­ese steps are be­ing in­tro­duced a year af­ter the govern­ment pro­vided ex­port in­cen­tives to the ship­ment of goods through couri­ers or for­eign post of­fices us­ing ecom­merce in the For­eign Trade Pol­icy of 2015-20.

At present, ex­ports that can avail of th­ese sops are capped at .₹ 25,000 per con­sign­ment, a value con­sid­ered small for such pur­chases. More­over, only six prod­uct cat­e­gories — hand­i­crafts, hand­looms, toys, cus­tomised fash­ion gar­ments, books and leather footwear — are en­ti­tled to th­ese in­cen­tives un­der the Mer­chan­dise Ex­ports from In­dia Scheme (MEIS). “The in­cen­tive scheme has been a non-starter and we have made a pre­sen­ta­tion to the govern­ment that it needs to be sim­pli­fied,” said Vi­jay Kumar, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of the Ex­press In­dus­try Coun­cil of In­dia.

Point­ing out the likely prob­lems in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the data col­lec­tion sys­tem, Ajay Sa­hai, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian Ex­port Or­gan­i­sa­tions, said: “The govern­ment can get data only if ex­porters ap­ply for ben­e­fits un­der the MEIS. But at present, the ben­e­fit is much less than the cost. We need to de­vise a dif­fer­ent pro­ce­dure to cal­cu­late ecom­merce ship­ments as nor­mal com­mer­cial ones and not as sam­ples,” he said. The FIEO has writ­ten to the com­merce min­istry to ex­empt ex­ports through the ecom­merce route from VAT, ex­cise and ser­vice tax on goods and from phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion by the cus­toms de­part­ment.

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