The government on Thursday announced the extension of export benefits under the RoDTEP scheme for e-commerce exports through post or couriers.
The scheme for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) provides for refund of taxes, duties and levies that are incurred by exporters in the process of manufacturing and distribution of goods and are not being reimbursed under any other mechanism at the centre, state, or local level.
The commerce ministry's arm DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) will put in place the necessary IT framework and other enablers for extension of the scheme for the exporters soon.
"To enable the MSME sector in getting the RoDTEP benefits, particularly for the exports through e-commerce, the government will be extending the RoDTEP benefits," Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters here.
He said that sectors which can benefit from the move include gem and jewellery, handloom, handicraft, AYUSH products, pharma, leather and textiles.
"Collectively, we believe that anywhere between USD 1-2 billion of annual exports from MSMEs will get the benefit through this initiative," Goyal said.
The announcement assumes significance as e-commerce is the emerging route for exports, and worldwide it is expected to touch USD 2 trillion by 2030.
The RoDTEP scheme operates under a budgetary framework and for 2023-24, a budget of Rs 15,070 crore is available for it. Till December, about Rs 12,000 crore of the allocation for the year has been spent.
In FY23, the scheme supported USD 450 billion worth of exports at the cost of Rs 13,020 crore. While in 2021-22, the scheme aided USD 421 billion in exports and cost Rs 12,100 crore.
The rate of tax refund under the scheme ranges from 0.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent of the value of the product.
It covers business-to-business exports of 10,610 products. The same products exported through e-commerce or courier will get the RoDTEP benefit.
India is aiming for USD 200 billion in exports through e-commerce by 2030 when total merchandise exports will touch USD 1 trillion.
In the Foreign Trade Policy of 2023, a lot of emphasis has been placed on e-commerce exports. The limit per consignment of goods through e-commerce has been raised to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 5 lakh.
Goyal also released a handbook for MSMEs with a focus on e-commerce exports.
The handbook -- currently available in English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Kannada -- is being translated into other vernacular languages and aims to serve as a comprehensive guide for new entrepreneurs looking to export through the e-commerce route.
With a robust digital infrastructure, supportive government policies, and a growing online consumer base, the country is well-positioned to tap into the immense potential of this global market.
An MOU was also signed between DGFT and Shiprocket for holding capacity building and handholding sessions as part of the e-commerce outreach conducted by DGFT regional authorities under its Districts as Export Hubs Initiative.
This is part of the DGFT's collaboration with different e-commerce platforms/enablers to hold training sessions in districts across the country with a focus on promoting these exports.
The e-commerce exports handbook for MSME will be a key resource for creating awareness on e-commerce exports through these outreach events in the districts.