Focus on manufacturing to boost exports: Sharma

India will achieve the modest export target $ 325 billion for the current fiscal

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but to enhance it substantially, the country needs to boost its manufacturing capability, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.

"India has to grow in manufacturing led exports because we are not a country very much endowed when it comes to some of the natural resources which need for our economic growth particularly energy.

"Therefore, India has to become competitive in manufacturing and exports," Sharma told PTI in an interview.

The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index, declined by 2 per cent in October as against a growth of 9.9 per cent a year ago.

During the April-October period of 2013-14 fiscal, the sector's output contracted 0.3 per cent compared to a growth of 1.1 per cent in same period last year.

The dip in the growth rate of the sector has also cast its shadow on the country's exports which has slowed down to about 6 per cent in November.

During April-November, exports grew by 6.27 per cent to USD 204 billion while imports aggregated at USD 304 billion. Trade deficit stands at USD 100 billion.

Sharma expressed confidence that India would achieve its exports target of USD 325 billion for the current fiscal.

"I hope that we will meet our target and we are trying for that. It is a modest target of USD 325 billion and as of now we are on track," he said.

He said the government has announced the national manufacturing policy (NMP) to boost the sector's growth and increase its share in the country's GDP to 25 per cent from the present 15-16 per cent in the next decade. It also aims creating 100 million new jobs by 2022.

It envisages facilitation by the government in infrastructure development and improvement of the business environment through rationalisation and simplification of the regulatory framework.

The NMP would be a key enabler for setting of National Manufacturing and Investment Zones (NMIZs), which are industrial townships, benchmarked to the best manufacturing hubs in the world.

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