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MEIS export benefits norms eased

The government relaxed the norms for claiming duty benefits under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) by exempting merchandise exporters from mandatory submission of landing bills with immediate effect. The move was done with an eye on boosting exports which have declined for the 16th straight month in March, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade has notified that proof of landing, which exporters have long argued against, will not be required along the remaining 2787 tariff lines.

Introduced in April 2015, the MEIS scheme under the Foreign Trade Policy incentivises merchandise exports along a total of 5,012 items currently. Exporters earn duty credits at fixed rates of 2 per cent, 3 per cent and 5 per cent depending upon the product and country. However, the benefit of MEIS is available where the exporter presents proof of landing the goods at the destination country. Such proof is not necessary where MEIS is available for export to all countries but was mandatory for the 2787 tariff lines, incentives for which were available only to limited countries.

Meanwhile, the annual resource allocation under MEIS was enhanced from Rs 18,000 crores to Rs 21,000 crores in October 2015. The government had also raised the duty drawback rates by two per cent for many sectors including engineering, marine and textiles. The drawback rates are reimbursement of certain customs and excise duties, and service tax on imports of input materials, which go into the manufacture of goods that are exported.