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Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme

Why is it in the news?

  • Exporters are advocating for a $3.88 billion fund allocation to the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme in anticipation of the interim Budget 2024.

·       India aims to significantly increase its goods and services exports from $776 billion (recorded in 2022-23) to $2 trillion by 2030. However, the current allocation for marketing support under the MAI scheme, which is less than Rs 2 billion for the current year, is considered inadequate to achieve this target.

·       There is an imbalance in export contributions among Indian states, with over 70% of exports originating from only five states. Gujarat alone contributes over 30% of India’s exports.

 More about the news

  • The MAI scheme is designed as an Export Promotion Scheme with the aim to bolster India’s exports on a consistent basis.
  • It operates on a focus product-focus country approach, aiming to develop specific markets and products through comprehensive market studies and surveys.
  • The scheme covers various activities including Marketing Projects Abroad, Capacity Building, Support for Statutory Compliances, Studies, Project Development, Developing Foreign Trade Facilitation web Portal, and support for Cottage and handicrafts units.
  • Several entities are eligible to participate in the MAI scheme, including various government departments, Indian Missions abroad, Export Promotion Councils, Registered trade promotion organizations, Commodity Boards, Apex Trade Bodies, Recognized Industrial & Artisan Clusters, Individual Exporters (for statutory compliance), and National Level Institutions (such as IITs, IIMs, NIDs, NIFT, etc.).
  • Projects under the MAI scheme operates on a cost-sharing basis, with the sharing pattern ranging from 65% to 50% at the minimum.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, administers the MAI scheme through the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

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