The US has emerged as India’s top destination for merchandise exports during April-December this fiscal at USD 59.7 billion, Parliament was informed on Friday.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government has taken a series of measures to promote the country’s exports. The steps include an extension of existing foreign trade policy till March 31; an extension of interest equalisation (subsidy) scheme on pre and post-shipment rupee export credit till March 31 next year; and a roll-out of Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme.
According to the data provided by the minister in his reply, the US was followed by UAE (USD 23.31 billion); Netherlands (USD 14.1 billion); China (USD 11 billion); Singapore and Bangladesh (about USD 9 billion each). In reply to a question on startups, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash said that Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) is implemented from April 2021. “Under the Scheme, Rs 477.25 crore has been approved to 133 incubators of which Rs 211.63 crore has been disbursed as on 31st December 2022,” Parkash said.
SISFS aims to provide financial assistance to the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT)-recognised startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry and commercialisation to enable these startups to graduate to a level where they will be able to raise investments from angel investors or venture capitalists or seek loans from commercial banks or financial institutions. Under the scheme, funds are disbursed to eligible startups through eligible incubators across India. Similarly, as on December 31, 2022, under the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) Scheme, Rs 7,980 crore has been committed to 99 AIFs (alternate investment funds) and Rs 3,400 crore has been disbursed to 72 AIFs.
The FFS scheme does not directly invest in startups, instead provides capital to SEBI-registered AIFs, known as daughter funds, who in turn invest money in growing Indian startups through equity and equity-linked instruments. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has been given the mandate of operating this fund through a selection of suitable daughter funds and overseeing the disbursal of committed capital.