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Explore the shift from MEIS to RoDTEP and learn how Indian exporters are navigating the shift in export incentive schemes. Pace up with the changing trade landscape.

DGFT’s MEIS to RoDTEP Transition: Navigating the Shift in Export Incentive Schemes

The global economy is becoming increasingly interconnected, and international trade plays a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of nations. 

For many countries, exports are a significant driver of economic growth, and to encourage and support this crucial aspect of their economy, governments often introduce export incentive schemes. 

These schemes are designed to boost exports by providing financial incentives and other benefits to exporters. In India, two notable export incentive schemes are the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP). 

Without further ado, let us begin exploring the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP and how exporters can navigate this shift.

Understanding MEIS

Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) was introduced by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in 2015 as part of India’s Foreign Trade Policy. 

Under this scheme, exporters were granted duty credit scrips as a percentage of their export value. These scrips could be used to pay various duties, including basic customs duty, central excise duty, and service tax. 

The MEIS aimed to promote the export of goods manufactured in India and to offset the infrastructural inefficiencies and other associated costs faced by exporters.

This was a popular incentive scheme for exporters and played a significant role in boosting India’s exports for several years. Exporters were classified into different categories, and the rates of incentives varied based on the category of goods and the country of export. 

However, MEIS also faced challenges, including disputes over its compliance with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) rules and regulations.

Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)

To address the issues associated with MEIS and ensure its compliance with international trade rules, India introduced the RoDTEP scheme. 

RoDTEP was officially rolled out on January 1, 2021. It is a WTO-compliant scheme aimed at refunding various embedded taxes and duties that were not refunded under MEIS. 

The RoDTEP rates are based on a predefined schedule and calculated on the basis of the duties and taxes incurred on the export of goods. 

The primary objectives of RoDTEP are:

  • To provide a level playing field to Indian exporters in the global market.
  • To promote the ‘Make in India’ initiative by incentivising domestic manufacturing and exports.
  • To boost the overall export competitiveness of Indian products.

Transitioning from MEIS to RoDTEP

The transition from MEIS to RoDTEP was a significant policy shift for Indian exporters. This transition was necessitated by several factors, including disputes with the WTO and the need to align export incentive schemes with global trade norms. 

While the MEIS was well-received by the exporting community, the RoDTEP is seen as a more comprehensive and transparent scheme, albeit with certain challenges.

Navigating the Shift in Export Incentive Schemes

Export incentive schemes are essential drivers of economic growth for many nations. In India, the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP represents a significant shift. Let us go through the intricacies of this transition.

Understanding the RoDTEP Rates

Understanding the RoDTEP rates is essential for Indian exporters navigating the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP. 

RoDTEP introduces a structured rate schedule to determine the benefits exporters can avail for specific products. These rates are calculated based on the embedded taxes and duties incurred during the export process.

To effectively leverage RoDTEP, exporters must consult the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and reference the official schedule of rates, which is publicly available. 

It is essential to identify the specific RoDTEP rate applicable to their products, as this determines the refund they can claim. Accuracy in this process ensures that exporters maximise their benefits and stay compliant with the scheme. 

By understanding and staying updated on RoDTEP rates, exporters can make informed decisions that contribute to the growth and competitiveness of their businesses in the global market.

Compliance with WTO Norms

Compliance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms is an important aspect of India’s transition from the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP). 

The shift was prompted by disputes with the WTO regarding the MEIS, as it was perceived to violate international trade regulations.

To successfully navigate this transition, Indian exporters must align their practices with WTO rules. This includes:

  • Accurate documentation of the export value 
  • Proper classification of goods
  • Adherence to origin and destination regulations

Non-compliance with WTO norms can lead to trade disputes and potential penalties, harming the country’s trade relations.

Understanding the international trade landscape and ensuring that business operations conform to WTO standards is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic move that bolsters India’s global trade reputation. 

By complying with WTO norms, Indian exporters can build trust with international partners and enjoy a level playing field in the global marketplace, ultimately fostering sustainable economic growth.

Identifying Eligible Taxes and Duties

In the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP, it is crucial for Indian exporters to identify eligible taxes and duties to maximise the benefits under the new scheme. 

RoDTEP aims to refund embedded taxes and duties that were not previously reimbursed under MEIS, including central, state, and local levies. These can encompass Goods and Services Tax (GST), Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duties, and various other indirect taxes.

To effectively navigate this shift, exporters must collaborate with tax consultants or financial advisors who can help pinpoint the specific taxes and duties relevant to their products. Accurate identification and calculation of these amounts are essential for optimising RoDTEP benefits. 

By understanding and categorising eligible taxes and duties, exporters not only ensure that they receive the maximum incentives but also demonstrate their commitment to the RoDTEP program, contributing to India’s export competitiveness on the global stage.

Working with Government Authorities

Collaboration with government authorities, particularly the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), is pivotal during the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP

Exporters need to proactively engage with these authorities to gain a deeper understanding of the new RoDTEP scheme, its intricacies, and the requisite compliance procedures.

Working closely with government officials and DGFT offices can provide invaluable insights, clarify doubts, and ensure exporters are on the right track. Government authorities are there to assist, guide, and facilitate a seamless transition. They can help exporters understand the application process, documentation requirements, and how to claim benefits under RoDTEP.

Moreover, this collaboration not only ensures a smoother transition but also fosters transparency and trust between exporters and government agencies. It showcases the commitment of the export community to aligning with new policies and regulations, ultimately contributing to India’s international trade reputation and export growth. 

Building a strong working relationship with government authorities is an essential aspect of successful export operations in the evolving trade landscape.

Embracing Digitalisation

Embracing digitalisation is a fundamental requirement for Indian exporters during the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP. 

The move towards RoDTEP has been accompanied by an increased emphasis on automation and technology-driven processes in the export industry. Exporters should proactively adopt digital platforms and technological solutions to streamline their operations and ensure compliance with RoDTEP requirements.

Digitalisation offers several benefits, including improved efficiency in claim filing, enhanced accuracy in documentation, and faster processing times. It reduces the risk of errors and facilitates easier communication with government authorities and relevant stakeholders. By leveraging digital tools, exporters can maintain a competitive edge in the evolving trade landscape.

Moreover, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, digitalisation is a prerequisite for staying globally competitive. It allows exporters to adapt to changing market dynamics, respond to customer demands more effectively, and seize new opportunities. 

In a rapidly evolving export environment, embracing digitalisation is not merely an option but a necessity for long-term success.

Leveraging Export Promotion Councils

Leveraging Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) is a strategic move for Indian exporters navigating the transition from MEIS to RoDTEP. EPCs are industry-specific organisations that play a pivotal role in supporting and guiding exporters. 

These councils provide valuable insights, industry-specific knowledge, and assistance to exporters in understanding how RoDTEP applies to their particular sectors.

Exporters should consider becoming members of EPCs related to their industries. These councils offer numerous benefits, including access to resources, training, networking opportunities, and a platform to voice concerns or seek clarifications. They keep exporters updated on the latest developments, policy changes, and trade-related information.

By collaborating with EPCs, exporters can not only gain a deeper understanding of RoDTEP’s implications for their specific products but also build essential relationships with industry peers and relevant authorities. 

The knowledge and support offered by EPCs can significantly contribute to the success of exporters in the evolving trade landscape.

Challenges in Transition

While the shift from MEIS to RoDTEP offers several advantages, it also comes with its set of challenges that exporters need to address:

Complex Documentation

RoDTEP requires detailed documentation to claim benefits accurately. This can be time-consuming and may pose challenges for exporters who are not well-versed in export documentation.

Administrative Overhead

The transition may increase administrative overhead as exporters need to manage compliance with RoDTEP, in addition to their regular export operations.

Product Classification

Accurate classification of products to determine the RoDTEP rates can be complex. Exporters need to ensure that their products are correctly categorised to maximise benefits.

Delays in Refunds

Refunds under RoDTEP may take time to process, leading to cash flow challenges for some exporters. Being prepared for potential delays is crucial.

Compliance Risks

Non-compliance with RoDTEP regulations can lead to disputes, penalties, and legal issues. Exporters must invest in understanding and complying with the scheme.


The transition from MEIS to RoDTEP represents a significant shift in India’s export incentive landscape. While the MEIS scheme had been instrumental in promoting exports, the RoDTEP scheme aims to provide a more comprehensive and WTO-compliant alternative. 

To successfully navigate this shift, exporters need to be well-informed, adaptable, and proactive in their engagement with government authorities and industry bodies.

Exporters need to recognise the importance of compliance with international trade norms and regulations, as non-compliance can lead to disputes and penalties. Furthermore, embracing digitalisation and efficient documentation processes can help streamline the RoDTEP claiming process.

Despite the challenges associated with the transition, the RoDTEP scheme has the potential to benefit Indian exporters by improving the overall competitiveness of Indian products in the global market. By staying informed, proactive, and compliant, exporters can make the most of the RoDTEP scheme and contribute to India’s export growth in the coming years.

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