Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports (ASIDE)


The State Governments shall be encouraged to participate in promoting exports from their respective States. For this purpose, Department of Commerce has formulated a scheme called ASIDE.

Suitable provision has been made in the Annual Plan of the Department of Commerce for allocation of funds to the states on the twin criteria of gross exports and the rate of growth of exports.

The States shall utilise this amount for developing infrastructure such as roads connecting production centres with the ports, setting up of Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations, creation of new State level export promotion industrial parks/zones, augmenting common facilities in the existing zones, equity participation in infrastructure projects, development of minor ports and jetties, assistance in setting up of common effluent treatment facilities, stabilizing power supply and any other activity as may be notified by Department of Commerce from time to time.

Market Access Initiative (MAI)


The Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme is intended to provide financial assistance for medium term export promotion efforts with a sharp focus on a country and product.


The financial assistance is available for Export Promotion Councils, Industry and Trade associations , Agencies of State Governments , Indian Commercial Missions abroad and other eligible entities as may be notified from time to time,.


A whole range of activities can be funded under the MAI scheme. These include market studies, setting up of showroom/ warehouse, sales promotion campaigns, international departmental stores, publicity campaigns, participation in international trade fairs, , brand promotion, registration charges for pharmaceuticals and testing charges for engineering products etc. Each of these export promotion activities can receive financial assistance from the Government ranging from 25% to 100% of the total cost depending upon the activity and the implementing agency, as indicated in the detailed guidelines. The full text of the guidelines can be seen at .

Marketing Development Assistance (MDA)














Meeting Legal expenses for Trade related matters













The Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme is intended to provide financial assistance for a range of export promotion activities implemented by export promotion councils, industry and trade associations on a regular basis every year.


As per the revised MDA guidelines with effect from 1st April,2004 assistance under MDA is available for exporters with annual export turnover upto Rs 5 crores.


These include participation in Trade Fairs and Buyer Seller meets abroad or in India, export promotion seminars, etc


Further, assistance for participation in Trade Fairs abroad and travel grant is available to such exporters if they travel to countries in one of the four Focus Areas, such as , Latin America, Africa, CIS Region, ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand.

For participation in trade fairs, etc, in other areas financial assistance without travel grant is available.


Financial assistance would be provided to deserving exporters on the recommendation of Export Promotion Councils for meeting the cost of legal expenses relating to trade related matters.

Towns of Export Excellence


A number of towns in specific geographical locations have emerged as dynamic industrial clusters contributing handsomely to India’s exports. It is necessary to grant recognition to these industrial clusters with a view to maximizing their potential and enabling them to move higher in the value chain and tap new markets.

Selected towns producing goods of Rs. 1000 crore or more will be notified as Towns of Exports Excellence on the basis of potential for growth in exports. However for the Towns of Export Excellence in the Handloom, Handicraft, Agriculture and Fisheries sector, the threshold limit would be Rs 250 crores.

Common service providers in these areas shall be entitled for the facility of the EPCG scheme.


The recognised associations of units will be able to access the funds under the Market Access Initiative scheme for creating focused technological services.


Further such areas will receive priority for assistance for rectifying identified critical infrastructure gaps from the ASIDE scheme.

The notified towns of export excellence are listed in Appendix 41.

Brand Promotion and Quality


The Central Government aims to encourage manufacturers and exporters to attain internationally accepted standards of quality for their products. The Central Government will extend support and assistance to Trade and Industry to launch a nationwide programme on quality awareness and to promote the concept of total quality management.

Test Houses


The Central Government will assist in the modernisation and upgradation of test houses and laboratories in order to bring them at par with international standards.

Quality Complaints/ Disputes


The Regional Sub-Committee on Quality Complaints (RSCQC) set up at the Regional Offices of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade shall investigate quality complaints received from foreign buyers. The guidelines for settlement of quality complaints, in particular, and such other complaints, in general, is given in Appendix- 37 of Handbook (Vol.1).

Trade disputes affecting trade relations


If it comes to the notice of the Director General of Foreign Trade or he has reason to believe that an export or import has been made in a manner that




is gravely prejudicial to the trade relations of India with any foreign country; or




Is gravely prejudicial to the interest of other persons engaged in exports or imports;




has brought disrepute to the country;



The Director General Foreign Trade may take action against the exporter or importer concerned in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Rules and Orders made thereunder and this Policy.



Star Export House


Merchant as well as Manufacturer Exporters, Service Providers, Export Oriented Units (EOUs) and Units located in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Agri Export Zone (AEZ’s), Electronic Hardware Technology Parks (EHTPs), Software Technology Parks (STPs) and Bio Technology Parks (BTPs) shall be eligible for applying for status as Star Export Houses.

Status Category


The applicant shall be categorized depending on his total FOB/FOR export performance during the current plus the previous three years.:




Performance (in rupees)

One Star Export House

15 crore

Two Star Export House

100 crore

Three Star Export House

500 crore

Four Star Export House

1500 crore

Five Star Export House

5000 crore









Units in Small Scale Industry/Tiny Sector/Cottage Sector, Units registered with KVICs/KVIBs, Units located in North Eastern States, Sikkim and J&K, Units exporting handloom/ handicrafts/hand knotted or silk carpets, exporters exporting to countries in Latin America/CIS/sub-Saharan Africa as listed in Appendix-17C, units having ISO 9000 (series)/ ISO 14000 (series) /WHOGMP/HACCP/SEI CMM level-II and above status granted by agencies listed in Appendix-28A, exports of services and exports of agro products shall be entitled for double weightage of exports made for grant of Star Export House status.



Exports made on re-export basis shall not be counted for the purpose of recognition.



Exports made by a subsidiary of a limited company shall be counted towards export performance of the limited company for the purpose of recognition only if the limited company has a majority share holding in the subsidiary company.


A Star Export House shall be eligible for the following facilities:




Licence/certificate/permissions and Customs clearances for both imports and exports on self-declaration basis.




Fixation of Input-Output norms on priority within 60 days;




Exemption from compulsory negotiation of documents through banks. The remittance, however, would continue to be received through banking channels;




100% retention of foreign exchange in EEFC account;




Enhancement in normal repatriation period from 180 days to 360 days.




Entitlement for consideration under the Target Plus Scheme




Exemption from furnishing of Bank Guarantee in Schemes under this Policy.



Validity Period


All status certificates issued or renewed on or after 01.09.2004 shall be valid from 1st April of the licensing year during which the application for the grant of such recognition is made upto 31st March, 2009, unless otherwise specified. On the expiry of such certificate, application for renewal of status certificate shall be required to be made within a period as prescribed in the Handbook (Vol.1). During the said period, the star export house shall be eligible to claim the usual facilities and benefits.




Services exports





Export Promotion Council for Services







Services include all the 161 tradable services covered under the General Agreement on Trade in Services where payment for such services is received in free foreign exchange. A list of services is given in Appendix-36 of Handbook (Vol.1). All provisions of this Policy shall apply mutatis mutandi to export of services as they apply to goods, unless otherwise specified.

Service exporters are required to register themselves with the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation. However, software exporters shall register themselves with Electronic and Software Export Promotion Council.



In order to give proper direction, guidance and encouragement to the Services Sector, an exclusive Export Promotion Council for Services shall be set up.


The Services Export Promotion Council shall:




Map opportunities for key services in key markets and develop strategic market access programmes for each component of the matrix.




Co-ordinate with sectoral players in undertaking intensive brand building and marketing programmes in target markets.




Make necessary interventions with regard to policies, procedures and bilateral/ multilateral issues, in co-ordination with recognised nodal bodies of the services industry.

Common Facility



Government shall promote the establishment of Common Facility Centres for use by home-based service providers, particularly in areas like Engineering & Architectural design, Multi-media operations, software developers etc., in State and District-level towns, to draw in a vast multitude of home-based professionals into the services export arena.




The objective is to accelerate the growth in export of services so as to create a powerful and unique ‘Served From India’ brand, instantly recognized and respected the world over.


All Service providers who have a total foreign exchange earning of at least Rs.10 lakhs in the preceding or current financial year shall be eligible to qualify for a duty credit entitlement.


For individuals who are service providers, the total foreign exchange earned criteria would be Rs.5 lakhs in the preceding financial year.




Hotels & Restaurants

All Service providers (other than hotels and restaurants) shall be entitled to duty credit equivalent to 10% of the foreign exchange earned by them in the preceding financial year.


Hotels of one-star and above (including managed hotels and heritage hotels) approved by the Department of Tourism, and other Service providers in the tourism sector registered with the Department of Tourism, shall be entitled to duty credit equivalent to 5% of the foreign exchange earned by them in the preceding financial year.


Stand-alone restaurants will be entitled to duty credit equivalent to 20% of the foreign exchange earned by them in the preceding financial year.


Note: In the case of one and two star hotels and stand-alone restaurants, the foreign exchanged earned through International Credit Cards and sources as may be notified only shall be taken into account for the purposes of computation of duty credit entitlement under the scheme.

Imports allowed

Duty credit entitlement may be used for import of any capital goods including spares, office equipment and professional equipment, office furniture and consumables, provided it is part of their main line of business.


In the case of hotels and stand-alone restaurants, the duty credit entitlement may also be used for the import of food items and alcoholic beverages.

Non Transferability

The entitlement and the goods imported shall be non-transferable.

Healthcare & Education

In order to enable Healthcare and Educational Institutions to have world-class state-of-the-art infrastructure, service providers in these sectors shall, as for other service sectors, be entitled to duty credit equivalent to 10% of the foreign exchange earned by them in the previous financial year.




The foreign exchange turnover for Healthcare Institutions would include amounts earned through medical treatment, surgery, testing, consultancy and health care provided by the institution.




The foreign exchange turnover for Educational Institutions would include amounts earned through the courses and consultancy provided by the institution.




In either case, it will not include foreign exchange remittances through any other source including equity participation, donations etc.




The capital goods and the consumer goods imported under the duty free entitlement shall have a nexus with the activities of the healthcare or educational institutions concerned.




Special provisions

Government reserves the right in public interest to specify from time to time the category or type of service exports which shall not be eligible for calculation of either eligibility or of entitlement.


Similarly, Government may from time to time also notify the goods which shall not be allowed for import under the duty free entitlement certificate issued under the scheme.





The objective of the scheme is to accelerate growth in exports by rewarding Star Export Houses who have achieved a quantum growth in exports. High performing Star Export Houses shall be entitled for a duty credit based on incremental exports substantially higher than the general annual export target fixed (Since the target fixed for 2004-05 is 16 %, the lower limit of performance for qualifying for rewards is pegged at 20% for the current year.).

Eligibility Criteria


All Star Export Houses (including Status Holders as defined in para of Exim Policy 2002-07) which have achieved a minimum export turnover in free foreign exchange of Rs 10 crores in the previous licencing year are eligible for consideration under the Target Plus Scheme .



The entitlement under this scheme would be contingent on the percentage incremental growth in FOB value of exports in the current licencing year over the previous licencing year, as under:

Percentage incremental growth

Duty Credit Entitlement (as a % of the incremental growth)

20% and above but below 25%




25% or above but below 100%




100% and above

15% (of 100%)



Incremental growth beyond 100% will not qualify for computation of duty credit entitlement.




For the purpose of this scheme, the export performance shall not be transferred to or transferred from any other exporter. In the case of third party exports, the name of the supporting manufacturer/ manufacturer exporter shall be declared.




Exporters shall have the option to apply for benefit either under the Target Plus Scheme or under the Vishesh Krishi Upaj Yojana, but not both in respect of the same exported product/s. Provided that in calculating the entitlement under Para 3.7.3 the total eligible exports shall be taken into account for computing the percentage incremental growth but the duty credit entitlement shall be arrived at on the eligible exports reduced by the amount on which the benefit is claimed under para 3.8.2.




All exports including exports under free shipping bill verified and authenticated by Customs and Gems& Jewellery shipping bills but excluding exports specified under para 3.7.5, shall be eligible for benefits under the Target Plus Scheme.




Applicant Companies


Companies which are Star Export Houses as well as part of a Group company shall have an option to either apply as an individual company or as a Group based on the growth in the Group’s turnover as a whole. (For the purpose of this scheme the definition of Group Company’ as given in Chapter 9 will be applicable. Furthermore , only such companies of the Group as are Star Export Houses will be considered).

If a Group company chooses to apply based on the export of one or more of its individual Star Export House companies, the entitlement would be calculated considering the export performance of the applicant company during the previous licencing year and current licencing year. It shall be necessary that the adjusted export performance of all the Star Export House companies of the Group during the current licencing year does not fall below the combined performance of all Star Export House companies of the Group in the previous licencing year.


In case the Group chooses to apply based on the overall growth in Group’s turnover (i.e the turnover of all the Star Export House companies) , any one of the Star Export House companies of the Group may file an application on behalf of all the Star Export House companies of the Group.







The following exports shall not be taken into account for calculation of export performance or for computation of entitlement under the scheme:





Export of imported goods covered under Para 2.35 of the Foreign Trade Policy or exports made through transshipment.





Export turnover of units operating under SEZ/EOU/EHTP/STPI/ BTP Schemes or products manufactured by them and exported through DTA units





Deemed exports (even when payments are received in Free Foreign Exchange and payment is made from EEFC account).





Service exports





Rough, uncut and semi polished diamonds and other precious stones





Gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals in any form, including plain jewellery thereof. However exports of studded jewellery and any item as may be notified from time to time will be counted for the entitlement under the scheme.





Export performance made by one exporter on behalf of another exporter

Imports allowed


The Duty Credit may be used for import of any inputs, capital goods including spares, office equipment, professional equipment and office furniture provided the same is freely importable under ITC (HS), for their own use or that of supporting manufacturers as declared in Appendix 17 D.

Agricultural products listed in Chapter 1 to 24 of ITC (HS) except as may be notified from time to time, shall not be permissible for imports under this scheme.

Cenvat/ Drawback


Additional customs duty/excise duty paid in cash or through debit under Target Plus shall be adjusted as CENVAT Credit or Duty Drawback as per rules framed by the Department of Revenue.

Special Provision


Government reserves the right in public interest, to specify from time to time the category of exports and export products, which shall not be eligible for calculation of incremental growth/ entitlement.


Similarly, Government may from time to time also notify the list of goods, which shall not be allowed for import under the duty credit entitlement certificate issued under the scheme.





The objective of the scheme is to promote export of fruits, vegetables, flowers, minor forest produce, and their value added products, by incentivising exporters of such products.



Exporters of such products shall be entitled for duty credit scrip equivalent to 5% of the FOB value of exports for each licencing year commencing from 1st April, 2004 . The scrip and the items imported against it would be freely transferable.

Imports allowed


The Duty Credit may be used for import of inputs or goods including capital goods, as may be notified, provided the same is freely importable under ITC(HS).

Imports from a port other than the port of export shall be allowed under TRA facility as per the terms and conditions of the notification issued by Department of Revenue.

Cenvat/ Drawback


Additional customs duty/excise duty paid in cash or through debit under Vishesh Krishi Upaj Yojana shall be adjusted as CENVAT Credit or Duty Drawback as per rules framed by the Department of Revenue.

Special Provision


Government reserves the right in public interest, to specify from time to time the export products which shall not be eligible for calculation of entitlement.