What is District as Export Hubs? Know its role and objectives

The District as Export Hubs initiative was launched by the Government of India to promote and facilitate exports from districts. Learn more about its role in the blog.
What is District as Export Hubs? Know its role and objectives
India boasts over 700 diverse districts, each with its unique resources, arts, crafts, traditions, and culture. Despite this diversity, when it comes to exports, only 70 districts contribute to 80% of India’s total exports.1 This highlights the untapped potential lying dormant in the majority of India’s districts, which could significantly boost the country’s economy.

In a bid to unlock this potential and provide crucial support to small businesses, the Government of India launched the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative. The vision is clear – to transform each district into an export hub, promoting locally produced goods and services. This initiative aligns with the goals of the Foreign Trade Policy 2023, Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for Local, and Make in India, and aims to make every Indian district a significant contributor to India’s mission of achieving $1 trillion in merchandise exports by 2030.2

In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of what the Districts as Export Hubs initiative is, the pivotal role of the District Export Promotion Committee (DEPC), and the impact it can have on local economies.

What is Districts as Export Hubs (DEH)?

Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) is an initiative launched by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It aims to harness the strengths and resources of each Indian district to bolster its export potential. The export hubs will act as catalysts for economic growth by empowering local businesses to venture into international markets. Through the creation of these specialized export hubs, the government seeks to streamline export processes, enhance competitiveness, and ultimately contribute to the overall development of the region.3

Objectives of the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative

The DEH initiative is designed with specific objectives in mind, each contributing to the overarching goal of fostering a vibrant export ecosystem. Some key objectives include:

1. Enhancing infrastructure

The initiative prioritizes upgrading and modernizing export-related infrastructure, such as transportation facilities, ports, and export logistics networks, to facilitate smooth export operations.

2. Skill development

The initiative focuses on providing training and skill development programs to equip artisans, farmers, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the expertise needed for international trade.

3. Market diversification

The initiative encourages businesses to explore diverse international markets, reducing dependency on a single market and mitigating risks associated with economic uncertainties.

4. Promoting innovation

To stay competitive globally, the initiative promotes innovation and technological advancements within the district. This includes fostering research and development activities to enhance product quality and efficiency.

5. Policy support

The initiative ensures that businesses operating within the export hub receive the necessary policy support and can access regulatory frameworks, creating a conducive environment for business growth and expansion.

6. Platforms for global expansion

The initiative aims to promote MSMEs, artisans, farmers, and cottage industries by giving them platforms for global expansion through e-commerce and digital marketing.4

Role of District Export Promotion Committees (DEPC)

Central to the DEH initiative is the District Export Promotion Committees (DEPC), an administrative body tasked with steering export-oriented initiatives within the district. Comprising representatives from various government departments, industry associations, and trade bodies, the DEPC acts as a collaborative force that leverages the district's strengths, and identifies gaps so they can be addressed by the concerned state or central departments.

The DEPC’s responsibilities include:
· Formulating export strategies.
· Providing necessary support in the form of product or sector-specific training.
· Conducting outreach activities such as buyer-seller meets, trade fairs, and workshops.
· Ensuring a seamless flow of information between the government and local exporters.

The DEPC serves as a bridge, connecting the needs and aspirations of local businesses with the policies and programs of the government. By implementing export strategies and disseminating export-related information, this committee plays a pivotal role in realizing the full potential of the Districts as Export Hubs initiative.5

One District – One Product (ODOP) - Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative

The One District – One Product (ODOP) initiative was launched by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry. The ODOP initiative aims to select, brand, and promote at least one product from each district to promote holistic regional development across all Indian districts.
Recently, ODOP was merged with the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative, and products with export potential were identified from 765 districts across India. The initiative aims to engage key stakeholders to develop institutional mechanisms to facilitate the export of identified products from each district.6

Impact of Districts as Export Hubs initiative

The Districts as Export Hubs initiative can have far-reaching impacts on the local economy. By channeling resources towards exports, the initiative fosters productivity, innovation, and competitiveness among local businesses. As these businesses expand into international markets, they contribute to foreign exchange earnings, job creation, and economic diversification.

The export hub model also enables the sharing of best practices and knowledge transfer among businesses within the district. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement, propelling the region towards becoming a globally competitive player in the export market.7

The Districts as Export Hubs initiative represents a strategic approach to boost local economies by leveraging their unique strengths in the global market. To further this initiative and propel e-commerce exports from Indian districts, the Government of India has engaged in key collaborations with ecosystem enablers. In 2023, the Directorate of Foreign Trade (DGFT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Amazon India.

Under this partnership, Amazon and DGFT will jointly organize capacity-building sessions, training, and workshops for MSMEs in districts as part of the Districts as Exports Hubs initiative. The primary objective is to link local producers, even in rural districts, with global supply chains, enabling exporters and MSMEs to sell their 'Made in India' products to customers worldwide. By leveraging e-commerce export programs like Amazon Global Selling, the collaboration aims to support local exporters in reaching potential international buyers, aligning with the focus on e-commerce outlined in the Foreign Trade Policy 2023.8

The synergies between local businesses, governments, export promotion councils, and ecosystem enablers like Amazon Global Selling are central to realizing the full potential of the DEH initiative. As we navigate the complex landscape of international trade, the Districts as Export Hubs initiative stands as a symbol of growth, empowering businesses to embrace the vast opportunities that the global market has to offer.

Amazon Global Selling: Easy e-commerce exports and hassle-free shipping

Starting an export journey can be intimidating for Indian businesses and MSMEs, and that is where Amazon Global Selling can help. If you are a business owner and you want to sell your products to the world, Amazon Global Selling enables you to list and sell ‘Made in India’ products on 18 Amazon global marketplaces. As an e-commerce exports program, Amazon Global Selling provides support and guidance at every step of your exports journey – documents and licenses, shipping, payments, advertising, and more.

Registered sellers can choose to ship their products by themselves through Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) or they can opt for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and outsource order fulfillment to Amazon including packing, storage, delivery, and returns. Amazon Global Selling simplifies the process of international shipping to the world, helping businesses navigate customs and reach a vast audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

· What is an export hub?
An export hub is a concentrated geographic area that has been identified for the facilitation of exports. An export hub leverages the unique strengths and resources of a specific region and provides local manufacturers and exporters with the support necessary to streamline export processes, enhance competitiveness, and contribute to the overall economic development of the area.
· What is the District Export Action Plan (DEAP)?
The District Export Action Plan is a strategic roadmap formulated to boost exports from a particular district. It involves comprehensive planning, coordination, and implementation of initiatives to enhance infrastructure, skill development, market diversification, innovation, and policy support within the district, fostering a conducive environment for export-oriented businesses.9
· What is the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative?
The Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative is a government-led effort aimed at establishing specialized export hubs within districts to harness each district’s export potential. It involves the creation of a District Export Promotion Committee (DEPC) to coordinate and support export-related activities. The initiative focuses on enhancing infrastructure, developing skills, promoting innovation, diversifying markets, and providing policy support to artisans, farmers, small industries, and MSMEs within the district.
Published on May 15, 2024.


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