Dr A. Sakthivel, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), spoke to The Sunday Guardian on ODOP.
Q: How do you assess the ODOP initiative?
A: It is a good initiative which will promote the product of every district of India. I compliment the government and the ministries/departments involved for conceiving ODOP and District as Export Hub (DEH) initiatives being taken nation-wide at various levels to make India not only a global manufacturing hub but to identify one product from each district and to achieve its export potential in the world market.
Q: What is FIEO’s role in this endeavour?
A: The FIEO is trying to give it a push. It is the nodal body and has been entrusted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to conduct such capacity building training sessions under ODOP and DEH pan India. We are organising workshops across the country to analyse the export potential of the district with main focus on the opportunities, issues and challenges of the focused export sector in general. When we hold a workshop in a particular place, we will invite the collector of the place and the industry secretary of the state so that exports can grow. FIEO has conducted about 100 such workshops all across India from last one year and more are in the pipeline.
Q: How does merger of ODOP and District as Export Hub scheme help?
A: Once a particular district is identified—for example, Tirupur district is exporting textiles—we know what are the issues involved, what are the infrastructure facilities and what is the role that state govt can play and central government can play. As for instance, in order to analyse the export potential of Mysore district with main focus on the opportunities, issues and challenges of the focused sector like Mysore handicraft, Mysore silk, agarbatti etc., and also to discuss on the logistics and infrastructural requirement for promotion of exports from the district, FIEO is planning a session on development of district as export hub in Mysore in association with Mysore Chamber of Commerce & Industry and District Industries Centre, Mysore.
Q: What are the potential sectors that can gain under ODOP?
A: Gems and jewellery happen to be one of the very promising and prominent sectors out of India’s all export products and contribute to around 12% of the country’s total exports. The export growth in this sector has been phenomenal in the post-Covid period and for the current FY 22-23, the target is around USD 45 billion. An interactive session was organised by FIEO Eastern Region, Kolkata office in line with the concept, objective and push for promoting ODOP and DEH.
This capacity building session was customized for the gems and jewellery sector/cluster of Howrah district located at Ankurhati area, with a view to apprise and encourage them about venturing into export trade and the steps, ways and means to how to go about it. The gold jewellery products being made in West Bengal have achieved an iconic status because of the design, craftsmanship. More than 6 lakh skilled labour are engaged in this sector in this state. Hence, it’s high time for us to overcome the hindrances that remain and take things forward through proper strategy to channelize the talent and potential in the global market.