Infra development to be priority to boost exports: Sitharaman

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The government will give top priority to developing modern infrastructure for boosting exports and spurring economic growth, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

“I know all of you have concerns about infrastructure growth among others. I assure you we will give maximum priority to infrastructure growth and development,” she said at the diamond jubilee celebrations here of the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India.

Sitharaman asked engineering exporters to build a brand for the sector in the global market.

Besides North America and Europe, engineering exports have spread to areas like Africa and the Asean region, she said.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said last week that the country is likely to miss the exports target for the fourth year in succession, unless the government steps in with corrective measures.

Last year, India recorded exports of $310 billion against a target of $340 billion. The current year export target is set at $310 billion.

From April to July, 2015, the country exported goods worth $89.88 billion.

In view of continuous decline in exports over a half-year period, the government has recently set up a promotion council chaired by the union commerce minister and comprising state trade and commerce ministers and other officials as members.

The Council for Trade Development and Promotion was notified by the commerce ministry in July.

Cumulative exports for the period April-June 2015-16 at $66.69 billion registered a 16.75 percent decline over that in the corresponding quarter ($80.11 billion).

The FIEO has earlier this year warned that the continuing decline in exports would result in layoffs, besides putting pressure on the current account deficit (CAD).

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