Budget may allocate Rs 4,500 crore to promote districts as export hubs for specific products

India could in the upcoming budget unveil a plan to promote districts as hubs of exports of specific products. The commerce and industry ministry is working on an integrated scheme that combines Districts as Export Hub (DEH) and One District One Product (ODOP), which is likely to be announced in Budget FY24, officials said.

The scheme could be provided an allocation of ₹4,500 crore.
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“We have integrated the two schemes and the aim is to boost rural entrepreneurship and exports of novel, indigenous, organic, and ethnic products,” said an official.

The boost to exports is being planned when the growth in the country’s outbound shipments were flat in November at $31.99 billion as against $31.8 billion a year ago.

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Initially, a pilot with 50 districts could be started, which would then be expanded to the 733 districts of the country. The districts will be assessed on parameters such as export plans and efforts to plug infrastructure and logistics gaps.

As per the official, the 50 districts for the pilot project would be chosen through the challenge route.

The ministry has identified products and services – including Geographical Indications and other significant products-with export potential in each district.

The framework of the DEH initiative comprises formation of District Export Promotion Committee and preparation of District Export Strategy or Action Plan. District Export Promotion Committee and State Export Promotion Committee have been constituted in all the 36 states and UTs.

Officials said that the Draft District Action Plan has been prepared for 570 districts and the ministry has developed a web portal to monitor the progress of these plans.

The ODOP Initiative seeks to convert each district into a manufacturing and export hub by identifying products with export potential in the district.

“While the integrated scheme will benefit exporters, the government should devise a mechanism in the selected districts for the endorsement and branding of their products,” said an industry representative, adding that local manufacturers and small exporters should be connected to provide a global platform to market their products.

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