Imports Current Affairs - 2020

GoI: 10 Sectors identified to cut imports

On June 3, 2020, the Department of Promotion for Industry and Internal Trade identified 10 sectors where in the imports are to be cut. This includes textiles, jewelry, mobile, gems, pharmaceuticals, garments, electronics, machinery, etc.

Highlights

The GoI has recently changed the set targets in order to become self-reliant in footwear, furniture and air conditioner. In parallel, the Government has also laid groundwork to become self-reliant in 10 other sectors.

Objectives

The Government has selected these 10 sectors in particular as India has natural advantage in these sectors. Hence, given a small push, these sectors have the potential of becoming the strength of the country.

The Government has made the decision of cutting imports to target the quality of domestically made products. Also, India will focus on increasing quality controls.

Imports in India

India imported 467.2 billion USD worth goods in the year 2019-20. Of this, leather and leather products amounted to 1.01 billion USD, machinery of 37.7 billion USD and machine tool imports of 4.2 billion USD.

The AC industry concern

The AC industry of India is largely dependent on imports, mainly imported compressors. These imports account to 60%-65% of AC production value.

What is the issue?

The Japanese split AC companies that are market leaders are taking advantage of India-ASEAN Free Trade Pact and importing from Vietnam and Thailand claiming to be registered in India. This is so common especially in new inverter category ACs.

Concerns of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

The steps of cutting imports and encouraging domestic manufacturing is being done under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. However, these steps may bring on certain issues. They are as follows

  • India might go back to Import Substitution Industrialization.
  • Trade Distortion. The prescribed limits of import duties of WTO may be crossed.
Import Substitution Industrialization

The ISI is criticized for the following

  • Only the consumer goods are boosted
  • The employment growth rate is slow
  • The productivity growth is minimal and the agriculture sector declined greatly
  • The internal migration increased.

India: The Second Largest Manufacturer of PPE in the world

On May 21, 2020, India became the second largest producer of Personal Protective Equipment in the world. China is the leading producer of PPE in the world.

Highlights

The Ministry of Textiles has been taking several measures to maintain the quality of PPE alongside manufacturing.

Background

Initially India faced several challenges in increasing quality PPE products. This includes importing machines from China and also increasing prices. Apart from these, there were delay in imports and non-availability of domestic manufacturers.

The above reasons made India turn indigenous in PPE production. This increased the production of PPE.

It is to be noted that the Textiles Committee recently launched the Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing Equipment. This will help increase PPE testing potential of the country.

Potential of India

India is now producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits every day. This is the maximum capacity of the country. On an average, India produces 1 lakh kits. A PPE kit consists of shoe cover, gloves, eye shield, mask and gown. The data was provided by the Ministry of Health.

In January 2020, India had 2.75 lakh PPE kits and they were then being imported. Today India has more than 15.96 lakh PPE kits as stock buffer.