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Market Access Initiative Scheme, 2018

Market Access Initiative Scheme, 2018

Market Access Initiative Scheme, 2018

Market Access Initiative Scheme, 2018, has been developed for the purpose of promoting exports and addressing interventions on a sustained basis so as to explore new markets across the globe and promote export-oriented activities. The scheme is formulated on the basis of a focus-product-focus-country approach to revolutionize specific markets and products by means of market research. These goals would be fulfilled by availing the services of export promotion organizations, trade promotion organizations, national level institutions, research institutions, universities, laboratories, exporters, etc., who would be funded by the Government for this purpose. This article looks at the scheme in detail.

Founding Objective

The scheme is initiated in view of achieving the following objectives:

  • Promotion of India’s exports on a sustained basis during its 10th five-year plan.
  • Execution of endeavours through a Focus-Product-Focus Country approach.
  • Transformation of strategy for the enhancement of export.
  • Implementation of a specific market, specific product approach through market study/survey.

Implementation Scale

The scheme financially caters to qualified agencies to support their contribution towards the scheme, which can be in the form of marketing actives (direct/indirect), market research, capacity building, branding and statutory compliances in importing markets. The scheme is expected to cover both the Market Access Initiative Scheme and Marketing Development Assistance Scheme. Apart from this, adequate support is extended to marketing projects pursued abroad on the basis of the Focus Product-Focus Country approach.

Qualified Agencies

The scheme is applicable to the following organization/agencies:

  • Departments of Central Government and Organization of Central/State Governments, which includes overseas Indian missions.
  • Export Promotion Councils.
  • Registered Trade Promotion Organizations.
  • Commodity Boards under the Department of Commerce.
  • Apex Trade Bodies, which are recognized under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) of the Government of India.
  • Authorized Industrial and Artisan clusters.
  • Individual exporters.
  • National Level Institutions, the likes of which include Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), National Institute of Designs (NIDs), etc.

Activities Eligible for Funds

The following activities will be funded under the scheme:

Marketing Projects Abroad

  • Launching of Showrooms and Warehouses.
  • Organizing “Trade Festival of India,” which is a multi-sectoral event conducted in specific offshore centres to promote the brands of the country.
  • National level participation in select International Trade Fairs, and the likes of it.
  • Exhibition of brands in International departmental stores.
  • Publication of world-class catalogues.
  • Publicity campaign and brand promotions.
  • Research and product development.
  • Lending of Support to recognized associations in industrial clusters for marketing in foreign territories.
  • Reverse visits of prominent procurers from project-focused countries.

Capacity Building

  • Rendering training to Indian exporters based on the general concept of exports.
  • The upgradation of laboratories, universities, research institutions on stand-alone or Public- Private Partnership basis.
  • The upgradation of the quality of select products for export markets.
  • The development of common facility centres, design centres, packaging, etc.
  • The recruitment of consultants in the respective country or jurisdiction.

Statutory Compliances

  • Charges/expenses incurred for meeting the statutory requirements in the buyer country.
  • Other commodities/product groups, as well as the nature of compliance covered for reimbursement, which will be approved on a case-to-case basis.
  • Contesting litigations abroad with respect to restrictions, anti-dumping duties, etc. on specific products of Indian origin.


  • Market studies/survey for revolutionizing the market strategies.
  • Export potential survey of the states.
  • Project/Study which expands the objectives of the scheme.
  • WTO studies for revolutionizing WTO compatible strategy.
  • All studies related to trade. A few examples include Joint Study Group (JSG), Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Regional Trade Agreements (RTA), etc.

Project Development

  • Generation of focused projects which could result in substantial improvements in market access. Special emphasis will be provided for the formulation of projects pertaining to priority sectors and sectors having ample potential for employment generation.


  • The development of foreign trade facilitation web portal.
  • Cottage and handicrafts units.

Criteria for Sanction

Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme is pursed on the basis of Market-Product/Services approach. Given the nature of the scheme, the interested agencies may prepare and submit a comprehensive project for market access to the Department of Commerce. The project must be furnished on the basis of scientific analysis. The submission of the project must be backed with effective publicity campaigns, seminars, buyers-sellers meets, etc. to optimize the benefits of participation in international fairs and exhibitions.

Submission of Proposal

The agencies qualified for this scheme may make a proposal to E&MDA Division through the respective administrative Divisions/Department/Ministry dealing with specific recommendations. The proposal must be supported by an executive summary as per Annexure-1.

The project proposal must include the relevant details, which must be supported by the relevant data/surveys. In addition to it, the projected benefits must be depicted in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

Validation of Proposals

The proposals submitted by the eligible agencies will be validated by the concerned commodity/territorial division, and the proposals pertaining to the services sector will be routed to the service export division. After this stage, the Sub-Committees, headed by the Joint Secretary, will consider the proposals suggested by the divisions and convey their recommendations to the Empowered Committee (EC).

Note: The Sub-committee and Empowered Committee are also entitled to take up any proposal on a Suo moto basis.

Level of Assistance

Each project under the scheme will be funded on a cost-sharing basis, and the sharing pattern could range from 65% to 50% at the minimum. However, the concerned committee may consider an enhancement or curtailment of the sharing pattern.

Priority sectors with the potential to generate employment opportunities such as cottage and handicrafts, leather sectors, etc., would be allocated with the appropriate resources. In addition to it, small and medium scale enterprises would be rendered assistance for export promotion.

The level of assistance provided to the participators of MAI will be as follows:

The total assistance provided to cottage and handicrafts units for applicable activities is tabulated below:

Level of Assistance in Normal Course Level of Assistance in Cottage and Handicrafts Limits Specified
Less than 50% 75% Subject to the maximum ceiling prescribed in the normal course
50 % and above 90% Subject to the maximum ceiling prescribed in the normal course

Apart from this, adequate support would be extended for developing the website for virtual exhibition at 75% of the approved cost.

Dispersal of Funds

The funds under the scheme will be dispersed in two instalments. The first instalment would provide up to 50% of the approved cost, and the second and final instalment will fund the remaining cost. The latter instalment would only be distributed on the submission of outcome reports/utilization certificates and CA certified audit account statements. The benefit of advance grants (if any) must be refunded, and the interest for the same must be remitted in the event of any defaults.

Start-ups hold Prominence

Considering the national interest in the development of start-ups, separate areas will be allocated for Start-up participants.


Participation in offshore events can be pursued with a minimum of 50 exhibitors/exporters waging their proposals, with the exception of some smaller sectors. Proposals with less than 50 participants can be considered for new markets if a justification with respect to the market, commodities or services are provided. The grounds for seeking lesser participation must be indicated in the application.

Clubbing of Agencies

The agencies involved in the scheme must initiate efforts to maximize participation by clubbing various agencies under a single event. The guidelines pertaining to this provision, which is also known as joint participation, is highlighted at Annexure-VI.

Monitoring and Review

The agencies selected for the project are required to furnish a quarterly report in the format prescribed in Annexure-II. This form will be utilized to review the progress of the utilization of funds and to assess the need for additional funds. The form may be addressed electronically to a portal designated for this purpose.

The Empowered Committee is required to review the scheme periodically and initiate measures to ensure the achievements of targets. The E&MDA Division will play the role of a Secretariat for the scheme, whose task involves timely physical verification of the proper utilization of funds and the implementation of projects.


The scheme would be functional until the 31st of March, 2020.