Border haats are specially designed marketplaces along the international borders. Currently, four border haats are operational along the India–Bangladesh border. Border haats have a made a new beginning through
- Promoting the well-being of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of the two countries by establishing traditional systems of marketing the local produce through local markets.
- Partition and fencing of borders had drastically reduced the scope for trade, and resulted in an unaccounted loss on the livelihood pattern of the residents. Border haats are aiding in revitalizing the lost trade.
- The commodities sold in the designated border haats are exempted from custom duties and other duties/taxes levied by the concerned authorities of both countries. The idea is that the working of the haats should not be hindered by tariff and non-tariff measures.
- 90% of the goods sold by Indian vendors are sourced from other states of India, and mainly consist of fresh fruits, garments, cosmetics, and packaged food products. Bangladeshi vendors tend to sell low-value blacksmith products, sarees, including zamdani sarees, dried fish, sweets, readymade garments, plastic products, including melamine, and bakery products. This is aiding in augmenting livelihood opportunities and enhancing cooperation among people across borders.
Border haats have emerged as a unique aspect of cross-border trade with an aim to uplift the economic condition of the people living along the international border area. They have been successful in improving the economic condition of the villages in general and of the vendors in particular. These haats are also used by people for meeting with relatives as no passport is required to enter the haats. Initiatives like border haats aids in inclusive management practices and in reducing of smuggling along the highly porous India- Bangladesh border. [EPW]