No More Backroom Deals: Commerce Ministry Pushes for Open and Transparent Export Leadership Selection

The Commerce Ministry of India has recently proposed new bye-laws for the election of office-bearers for all Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), including the apex exporters’ body, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). This significant move is aimed at making the election process more inclusive and representative of various stakeholders.

Key aspects of the proposed bye-laws include:

  1. Tenure and Re-Election: The bye-laws stipulate that a chairman will hold office for a period of two years and will not be eligible for immediate re-election. This rule ensures a rotation of leadership and opportunities for different individuals to contribute.
  2. Gap Period for Re-Election: In an effort to maintain a diverse leadership, the bye-laws state that a chairperson is only eligible for re-election as vice-chairperson in the same or any other council after a gap of four years.
  3. Composition of Committees: The Committee of Administration, which is to be formed under the new guidelines, will consist of both elected and nominated members. Notably, at least one-third of the seats for the elected members are to be reserved for representatives of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), highlighting the emphasis on broader representation.
  4. Adoption and Implementation: The proposed model bye-laws have already been circulated to the respective councils and organisations for adoption. The Commerce Ministry has advised all EPCs and FIEO to adopt these model articles of associations/bye-laws in their Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) or special governing body meeting before their next Annual General Meeting (AGM).
  5. Background and Review Process: The new bye-laws were proposed by a three-member panel set up by the ministry in May, tasked with reviewing the existing guidelines. The panel’s recommendations came after thorough internal discussions and consultations with all EPCs and FIEO.
  6. Eligibility, Resignation, and Disqualifications: The 27-page bye-laws document details various aspects such as eligibility for elections, resignation of members, disqualifications for membership of council, and methods of conducting elections.

These bye-laws represent a significant step towards modernizing the governance structures of EPCs and FIEO, aiming to make them more inclusive and effective in their role of facilitating exports. Different export promotion councils such as EEPC India, Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZs, and many others, along with FIEO, play a crucial role in promoting exports from India.

This initiative is a part of the Commerce Ministry’s broader efforts to streamline and enhance the functioning of bodies critical to India’s export sector, contributing to the country’s overall economic growth and development.

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