SL exporters must tap India’s ‘underserved states’ | Sunday Observer

SL exporters must tap India’s ‘underserved states’

Sri Lankan companies should explore exporting to India’s underserved states where reliance on day-to-day consumption presently falls on other states, a top former Indian bureaucrat suggested last week. Addressing a virtual discussion hosted by Advocata, a Colombo-based policy think tank, former secretary to India’s Ministry of Finance, Dr. S. Narayan said apart from Tamil Nadu, in states like Kerala, Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka provides ample opportunities for Sri Lankan exports to grow as businesses in that region is growing fast.

“You need to segment the Indian market to find opportunities,” Dr. Narayan who counts over four decades of experience in Indian public service, both in the State and Central Governments, said.

Citing South India as an example he said that for Kerala, a highly consuming state and very similar to Sri Lanka in terms of social indicators, the demand for consumption like fruits and vegetable comes from other parts of India.

“That is an opportunity because without Kerala getting apples from Himachal Pradesh which is 2,500 kilometres away, they should be getting products like strawberries and other fruits from Sri Lanka,” Dr. Narayan advocated. He said that states like Andhra Pradesh is developing its Port to feed the inner parts of India as places like Madhya Pradhesh and Rajpur are largely underserved.

“If the Ports in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka develops, with these linkages, garments, electrical equipments like refrigerators from Sri Lanka could very well go to these areas,” the official said.

On the other hand, Dr. Narayan scoffed at fears by a group of Sri Lankan businessmen that Indian businesses would overwhelm Sri Lanka once the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperation Framework Agreement (ETCA) is sealed. “Many Sri Lankan firms are exporting products to India and are doing extremely well there. Some of the firms have elevated production quality standards emulating Sri Lanka’s benchmark. For example, chicken Sausages are an absolutely the rage in Southern part of India, especially Kerala and the quality of Indian sausages has improved enormously due to the Sri Lankan arrivals there,” Dr. Narayan who retired from service in 2004 after working as the Economic Adviser to the Indian Prime Minister,said.

The discussion organized by Advocata on the topic “Is Modinomics working in India” was also attended by Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies and the Associate Professor of the National University of Singapore Professor, Razeen Sally.