Commerce ministry to have a new system for trade data collection

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The RBI’s concerns that the exporters are taking time to repatriate their earnings and recent goof-ups in export numbers have prompted the Commerce Ministry to overhaul its data collection machinery, sources said.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will put in place a technology driven system, which will reduce the time lag between a shipment and updating of its records.

Besides, the system will detect cases of over and under invoicing of the shipments. These steps follow a US$ 9 billion discrepancy in the export data in the current financial year up to October.

The Reserve Bank of India has also conveyed concerns in this regard to the government. The worries were reflected in the monetary policy review of the central bank recently.

“The tendency of exporters to defer repatriating their export earnings has led to significant pressure on the rupee,”the RBI said.

The rupee has depreciated by 17 per cent, since August. India’s exports were US$ 192 billion between April-November 2011, based on the corrected data.

While exports have grown by robust 33 per cent, doubts have been expressed whether the data was credible especially when the manufacturing industry was moving in the reverse direction.

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