Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje delivers inaugural speech at the ‘Vanijya Utsav’ organized by the SEPC and the Government of Karnataka. NFAPost Photo
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Bengaluru, NFAPost: Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said there is a need to create value-addition and a market for the agricultural products and the emphasis is on agri business, marketing and exports besides increasing agricultural production.

In her address at the inaugural session of the ‘Vanijya Utsav’ organized by the SEPC and the Government of Karnataka, Ms Karandlaje said Karnataka is actively involved in the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan scheme.

“We are boosting agricultural infrastructure by setting up cold chain facility, warehouses, food processing units and horticultural farms in the country and Karnataka has immense potential to increase farm produce and also horticultural crops,” she said.

The union minister said agriculture and its allied sectors are the largest providers of livelihood in India. Karnataka has the potential to become the export hub of agricultural products.

Last year, farmers produced 300 million tonnes of farm produce especially cereals and pulses and 326 million tonnes of vegetables and fruits.

She said the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of the Millets. With the majority of the land in Karnataka being dryland there is potential to produce millets on a large scale which is the staple food across Karnataka.

“Karnataka has earned an opportunity to take millets to the international market. Uttarakhand is the largest producer of millets in the country and the Centre is formulating schemes to boost cultivation of millets,” she said.

Speaking at the event, Maneck E Davar, Chairman, SEPC (Service Export Promotion Council) said SPEC is proud to host this Vanijya Utsav in Karnataka.

“During the pandemic, you would be surprised to know that all Export promotion councils, every month held four-five hour meetings, chaired by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, the MoS, commerce secretaries, and senior commerce ministry officials and those four hours the commerce ministry had exhibited dynamism and tremendous problem solving immediately across the virtual table, and it is their efforts, and also the efforts of EPCs and exporters across the country in various fields that the least impact of the pandemic was felt on our overall export performance,” he said.

Though in 2021, merchandise exports lost about 7% of the overall turnover and services exports lost 3%, Maneck E Davar said there is an ambitious roadmap to see that the merchandise exports grow from $219 billion to target of $400 billion in 2021-2022.

“We are almost on the way there. It speaks highly of the innovativeness of the efforts made by exporters both large and small. Service exports can make huge contribution and it continues to make to this country,” Maneck E Davarsaid.

Services exports are extremely important not just from an economic point of view but also that it adds to the reputation and credibility of our country. In 2019-20, services exports had hit $213 billion, a substantial part of this came from IT/ITES. In 2020-21, services exports lost 3%.

The SEPC chairman said one of the major sectors is travel and tourism and it incurred maximum losses, in spite of this, services exports were down only 3%. In the first quarter, services exports had shown resurgence of 13% and if it continues, we will achieve the target of $240 billion without taking into account the travel and tourism sector, he said.

The central government recently set the target $2 trillion exports by 2030. This comprises $1 trillion merchandise exports and $1 trillion services exports. The SEPC chairman said this ambitious target is achievable. “This means merchandise exports have to grow 2.5 times and services exports 4 times,” he said.

Speaking at the function, Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce and Industry Department Ramana Reddy IAS said Karnataka has facilitated India’s growth through its Information Technology industry.

“Besides, we have successfully facilitated the economic growth of the nation through our conducive business environment and business-friendly policies,” he said.

Ramana Reddy also said consequently over 400 Fortune 500 companies are in the state, making Bengaluru- the IT-hub of the country and the fourth largest technology cluster in the world.

“Karnataka has maximum number of R&D centres in the country. We are known around the world as the Silicon Valley of India. Karnataka is nO 1 in Service exports and No 1 In overall exports in the country. Karnataka is nO 1 in attracting FDIs, First in Niti Aayog’s India Innovation Index and also a leader in renewable energy,” he said.

Darpan Jain, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, speaks at the the ‘Vanijya Utsav’ organized by the SEPC and the Government of Karnataka. NFAPost Photo

Speaking at the inaugural session, Darpan Jain, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said India was doing single digit exports in IT and ITES in 2000.

“The overall services exports were around $5 billion in 2000, but today, we have reached $215 billion, almost a multi-fold jump. Almost 40% of IT and ITES exports happen from Karnataka. When nobody knew about IT, we used to have an event called IT.com,” said Darpan Jain.

He also spoke about healthcare and education services that are being exported from Karnataka.

“Karnataka is seeing how exports can transform the economy and how it has resulted in growth of states’ revenues. We still have a long way to go. India’s share of merchandise exports is 1.7% of the total global exports and in the case of services exports we are at 3.5%. We need to double the share and we should achieve at least 5-6% share of the global trade,” he said.

The global health services market is above $100 billion and there are more than 50 lakh people who travel for medical care. More than 8 lakh students from India go abroad to study and 50,000 people from abroad visit India for education purposes. There are many opportunities in India, he added.

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