The government on Friday proposed to extend the concessional export finance regime for select exporters for one more year till March 31, 2011, thus giving the slowdown-hit sector further relief.

“I propose to extend the interest subvention of 2 per cent for one more year for exports covering handicrafts, carpets, hand—looms and small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said while presenting Budget for 2010-11.

The scheme was to expire on March 31, 2010.

With a view to insulate the employment-oriented sectors like hand-looms, handicrafts, carpets and leather, from the impact of demand slowdown the government had extended the scheme for concessional export finance in the last Budget till March 31, this year.

After falling for 13 consecutive months since October 2008, exports turned positive in November 2009. The exports grew 18.2 per cent in November and 9.3 per cent in December.

Mr. Mukherjee also said that figures for merchandise exports for January were encouraging after turnaround in November 2009 and December 2009.

In January, the country’s exports grew by 11.5 per cent over the year ago period.

The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has also forecast a 12 per cent growth at USD 88 billion in India’s exports in the second half of the current fiscal.

The exports were valued at USD 81 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal.

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