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Govt may cut transaction costs for exporters

By BS Reporter in New Delhi
August 27, 2009 09:38 IST
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Ahead of unveiling the Foreign Trade Policy, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said the government was looking at cooperating with states to bring down transaction costs to make exports more competitive. India's exports have been on a downslide since October 2008.

The minister said that transaction costs could be reduced "if there is faster movement (of goods), reduction of delays, simplification of procedures (for completion of paper work) and online approvals (of applications for duty refund and other things)".

India's exports grew by a mere 3.4 per cent to $168 billion during 2008-09, in the wake of the global meltdown.

In its efforts to create a conducive business environment in the country , Sharma further informed that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had decided to extend the 'e-biz project' it had launched late last month to all states by 2015.

The e-biz project was initially slated for completion by 2019. It involves the development and maintenance of a one-stop portal for government-to-business services. It has been designed to enable entrepreneurs to obtain central, state and even municipal clearances, licences and permits online.

"The project is being run in five states at present. Over the next six years, we expect it to cover all states and offer all services," Sharma said.

The project, which was awarded to Infosys Technologies last month, is being run on a pilot basis in five states.
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BS Reporter in New Delhi
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