Trade Gap: Bangladesh profits from Indian Market ::By:Abhijit Nath
A colossal gap of trade between Tripura and Bangladesh is electrifying down the government revenue system as it has been witnessed that for the last five years, Tripura is importing bulk quantity of goods from Bangladesh while the state is exporting less to its next door. Apart from that, the state of Tripura is the gateway of trade and business from neighboring country Bangladesh for the northeastern states of India as the ‘Act East’ policy would be implemented very soon by the Central government.
The official business and trade between Bangladesh and northeastern India begins in the year 1995 and initially, exportable items of Tripura origin was pineapple, orange and fish of Andhra Rui fish. However, the export rate with Bangladesh from northeastern region is very poor because there is no such industrial item being produced. Moreover, commodities imported from Bangladesh are food beverages, cement, plastic materials, stone chips, fishes of different sizes, etc. In this financial year 2014-2015, the present volume of import from Bangladesh is Rs 350 crore in the northeastern region of India and the export volume from Northeastern India to neighboring country Bangladesh is less than Rs one crore that includes commodities, dry fish and sanitary items, informed president of Indian Chamber of Commerce of the Tripura chapter M L Debnath.
According to the yearly statistics recorded by the Indian Chamber of Commerce of the Tripura chapter, there is a massive volume of trade gap in regard to import and export. In the financial year of 2008-2009, goods imported from Bangladesh is Rs. 125.94 crore whereas Rs. 0.26 crore has been exported from Tripura to its neighbor. In 2009-2010 FY, Rs 162.88 crore goods were imported and exported Rs. 0.42 crore; in 2010-2011 FY, imported goods amount to Rs. 255.88 crore and exported goods Rs. 1.72 crore; in 2011-2012 FY, goods imported is Rs. 329.05 crore and goods exported is Rs. 1.55 crore; and in 2012-2013 FY (April to September), Rs. 148.43 crore is imported goods and Rs. 0.33 crore is exported from Tripura. Hence, in these five years there is a gap of total Rs. 1017.9 crore in trading between Bangladesh and Tripura.
During the year 2011-2012 FY, commodities imported from Bangladesh are fish (including dry fish), cement, broken or crushed stones, foods and beverages, plastic goods and other commodities amounts to Rs. 329.05 crore whereas commodities exported to Bangladesh amounts to only Rs 155.00 lakh. The commodities exported to the neighboring country are- heat resistant rubber latex thread, dry fish, citrus fruits, crafts paper and paper board, raw hides and skin of Bovine (Indian origin), and other commodities.
The president also informed that the industrial segment is not a deadlock in northeastern region nor the best player (Ambani, Birla, etc) are not lending their capital to start business in northeast India. Rather, Bangladesh industrialists are showing interest to set up industries in Tripura as well as other parts of northeastern states of India. It is noteworthy to mention that Pran beverages have started their production in Tripura and more companies are on the way and set up their infrastructures.
On January 13, 2015, union minister of Industry and Commerce NirmalaSitharaman inaugurated the first border haat at Srinagar,Sabroom in Indian Territory and Chagalnaiyya in Bangladesh territory and opens an opportunity for the people of both the country to exchange their products which in turn will affect the country’s revenue system and develop the living style of people.
On June 11, 2015, DC of Brahmanbariya, Bangladesh Musharraf Hussain, DM of Sepahijala district Pradip Kumar Chakraborty and Secretary of state Industry’s department M Nagaraju inaugurates Kamalasagar-Tarapur Border Haat at Kamalasagar. The official inauguration of Kamalasagar-Tarapur Border Haat was done by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on June 06 during Mr Modi's tour in Bangladesh.
Four more border haats would be opened at Khowai, Kamalpur, Kailashahar and Dharmanagar. The ‘Act East Policy’ would play a vital role for better relations and all round development of the northeastern region after closely connecting the region with the Southeast Asian countries. The capital city of Tripura is strategically located and becomes the gateway of Act East policy as well as plays a significant role for the development of the northeast India.
In the recent Budget session of Tripura Legislative Assembly, Congress legislature leader Sudip Roy Barman raised the issue of trade gap and requested the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to take appropriate measure. Barman also highlighted the export and import policies of the state government
Relying on the neighboring country Bangladesh, India has been losing it revenues in an enormous amount from 2009 to 2014 as huge numbers of classified goods are being imported from Bangladesh and creates an opportunity for them to develop in economical sectors. The incoming of goods of different categories from Bangladesh is stopping the growth of local land factories; industries and product which made the Bangladesh markets climb the Indian market ladders very easily and consequently this increases its market and country’s economical development. As the Indian markets are unable to grab their own market, they go down and gradually close. This importing of goods from Bangladesh has been hampering the Indian market and the employment sector has also flowed down.
According to the statistics of Union Ministry of Commerce, it is found that India has been unable to send similar amount of commodities to Bangladesh and is having a trade gap of Rs. 5,18,20,190.38 in the Financial Year (FY) of 2009-2010, similarly there is also a gap of Rs. 5,46,50,269.19 in 2010-2011 FY, gap of Rs. 8,79,50,384.49 in 2011-2012 FY, gap of Rs. 10,34,84,366.72 in 2012-2013 FY and Rs. 8,10,42,281.88 in 2013-2014. Hence it is to be reported that there is a gap of Rs. 37,89,47,492.66 in last five years between both the countries’ import and export. Moreover, this total amount also signifies the loss of India and gain of Bangladesh.
With the loss of government revenue in Tripura, the state has been facing a great loss in growing up of the local industries in the entire northeastern region and it also hampers the local business with the country. This gigantic trade gap may be solved with the initiative of the state government and central government by signing a MoU of same trading and business between both the countries.
Trade Gap between India-Bangladesh
2009-2010: Rs. 5,18,20,190.38
2010-2011: Rs. 5,46,50,269.19
2011-2012: Rs. 8,79,50,384.49
2012-2013: Rs. 10,34,84,366.72
2013-2014: Rs. 8,10,42,281.88
Total Gap in five financial years of Rs. 37,89,47,492.66
Trade Gap between Tripura-Bangladesh
2008-2009: Rs. 125.94 crore goods imported; Rs. 0.26 crore goods exported
2009-2010: Rs 162.88 crore goods imported; Rs. 0.42 crore goods exported
2010-2011: Rs. 255.88 crore goods imported; Rs. 1.72 crore goods exported
2011-2012: Rs. 329.05 crore goods imported; Rs. 1.55 crore goods exported
2012-2013 FY (April to September): Rs. 148.43 crore goods imported; Rs. 0.33 crore goods exported
Total gap in five financial years is Rs. Rs. 1017.9 crore
Source: Ministry of Commerce, Govt of India and Indian Chamber of Commerce, Tripura Branch.
About the Author: Abhijit Nath is a journalist of Tripura. He is associated with Tripura Observer ,the first English Daily of Tripura. His articles are published in several leading newspapers and magazines.
NB: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author.