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Don't Look For Sops: FM To Exporters

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Ahead of the Budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said exporters will have to "fight" their own battle and stop expecting fiscal incentives from the government. "Government only can play its part. Ultimately, exporters will have to compete and fight their own battle in the overseas markets," Mukherjee said here adding "they have to stop looking towards the government for sops". Unveiling a report that listed measures for cutting export transaction costs, the Finance Minister said the country's exporters must innovate and become more productive. The Government will present the Union Budget on February 28. However, the Finance Minister expressed optimism that India would be able to achieve the USD 200 billion export target this fiscal. Overseas shipments have already reached USD 164.7 billion during April-December 2010-11 and according to Commerce Ministry's assessment they may well touch USD 215-220 billion. Referring to high transaction cost for exports, estimated at 7-10 per cent of the cargo value, Mukherjee said the government was committed to help reduce the same. With exports entering negative zone in October 2008 due to economic slowdown, the government had given several fiscal sops such as two per cent interest subsidy and incentives for exporting products to select markets. (Reuters)