New Delhi: The Commerce Ministry has decided to push for stepping up benefits for exporters under various market-linked schemes in place of Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) scheme, which is scheduled to end on June 30.

It will be taken up with the Finance Ministry which has refused to give any more extension to the Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) scheme.

Exporters get refund of duties on import content of their export products under the 14-year-old DEPB which has been given several extensions. It costs the exchequer about Rs 8,000 crore per annum.

"I will go back (to the Finance Ministry) and argue why those (market-linked incentives) should (not) be stepped up...," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said.

He said helping exporters during the global financial meltdown had paid off. "If we could not have made that move in 2009, we would have been in deep trouble," he said.

The government had given a stimulus package for the exporters in the form of interest subsidy and duty refund benefits after demand for the Indian merchandise was hit due to recession in several developed markets in 2009.

With exports having seen a recovery with 37.5 per cent growth in 2010-11, the Finance Ministry is not willing to extend the DEPB.

Exporters have warned that if the scheme is withdrawn, their shipments would drop to USD 200 billion in the current fiscal. Overseas shipments in the previous financial year were USD 246 billion.

Advising the export community not to be fixated on the DEPB, Khullar said they can be compensated with other market focus schemes like Focus Market Scheme and Focus Product Scheme.



(Agencies)