Social Scientist. v 12, no. 132 (May 1984) p. 51.


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The New Import-Export Policy

THE EXPORT-IMPORT policy for the year 1984-85 has been formulated to meet the demands of a liberal trade regime that the country has been trying to adopt for some years now. The policy has four major declared objectives, viz, (a) to strengthen and develop the production base of the economy through continued accesss to all necessary inputs, including capital goods, (b) to facilitate technology upgradation and modernisation in production, (c) to provide further impetus to export production and exports and (d) to make all possible savings in imports.

The government has sought to fulfil these objectives by providing certain incentives aimed at export promotion. The import replenishment rates in the case of those below 10 per cent have been increased to provide an easier access to all necessary imported inputs for the production of goods which have an export market. As a complementary measure, the import of capital goods has been further liberalised. In the present policy, 94 additional capital goods have been put on the Open General Licence (0 G L) list. All the items, except animal tallow, have now been taken off the banned list. The government thought it prudent to take such a measure as some of the exporters were obtaining the licence to import these items on the banned list and were then selling these licences at a premium. Apart from this, the technology import policy has also been liberalised. The government has decided to identify some industries where technology imports can be put on the 0 G L list.

The optimism expressed in the new policy regarding the success of these measures to give a fillip to the sagging export demand for Indian industrial goods in the international market seems hardly justified if one considers the working of the export-oriented policy that one has been witnessing, especially after the IMF loan was taken in 1981. The so-called efforts at increasing the export of Indian industrial goods by adopting sophisticated technology imported from the West have failed to make much of an impact.

In the last three years, the export performance of the manufacturing sector has been quite dismal. The share of manufactures in the total volume of exports was 36.7 per cent in 1981-82 and this fell to about 29 per cent in 1982-83. The value of exports from this sector registeted a fall of more than Rs 300 crores during the same period. The share of manufactures continued to fall during 1983-84. In the first six months of the last finacial year, their share came down to about 25 per cent of the total exports. Within this sector, the sub-sector



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