MoU with GSTN will offer trade-nos. for services sector: Ajay Bhalla
by Sairaj Iyer
A convocation ceremony is usually a gathering to felicitate exalted students, however, the one at the Indian Institute of Planning turned out to be different. The discussions ranged from academics, packaging & printing to 'better exports'. It was surprising to find the DGFT and the minister of state for science, technology, and earth science showing keen interest in sharing insights on how good packaging could result in better export numbers.
Ajay Kumar Bhalla, the newly appointed Director General for Foreign Trade shared that an MoU has been signed with the GST network which should help make public the trade-numbers from the services sector. The DGFT was speaking exclusively with The Dollar Business around the sidelines of a press conference and a convocation ceremony at the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) in Mumbai today. When queried regarding the challenge in getting information about service data numbers, he was optimistic in saying, “We might see in 2017 that services data (numbers) is available. Services numbers are highly RBI driven, but with GSTN, there is a system where numbers will get integrated. Otherwise, to capture it, I must make IEC compulsory for services, which we don't want (to do) currently,” he quipped.
When asked if these numbers would be available across both the lines of export and import, he answered, “We will be getting both but import is basically the remittances part. Today the RBI doesn't differentiate from where services remittances have come (from), but in GST, even that aspect would be evaluated. We will hold meetings with RBI on this, apart from the one that we had with GSTN in Delhi.”
Speaking about packaging, YS Chowdary, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, said, "packaging of a product played a far vital role in determining marketability and price than even the intrinsic worth of the product per se. The minister also averred that a balanced approach between genetically engineered research and nature is also the need of the hour."
“If you can develop proper packaging system, you can save costs, and wastage coming from research such as square apples or square eggs is not advisable. While some of the developing nations are trying to involve too much of genetic engineering, one should also probe scientifically whether these are advisable or not. For example China has genetically engineered synthetic eggs, but there should also be considerations around using what nature is offering than merely focusing at such engineered alternatives.”
The convocation ceremony at the Institute also saw eminent speakers such as Dr. Deepak Phatak from IIT Mumbai and Dr. Inderjit Singh, Additional Secretary. The institute majorly organizes training and education in the field of packaging, and has collaborated closely with entities such as WTO, Asian Packaging Federation and International Trade Center, Geneva, working towards the growth and development of packaging globally.
Dr. NC Saha the Director at IIP said, “The main objective of the institution is to promote the export market by way of innovative package design and development and to upgrade the packaging standards at national level. Apart from Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad, we plan to add four more IIPs soon at Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Bengalure and Guwahati.”