India’s annual goods exports crossed the $400-billion mark for the first time ever, the government announced on Wednesday, buoyed by an increase in shipments of merchandise, including engineering products, apparel and garments, gems and jewellery and petroleum products.
Marking the “first time ever” development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the manufacturers, farmers and weavers for achieving this target.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal asserted that neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the global uncertainties following the Ukraine crisis had affected India’s ability to reach its export goals.
Milestone, says Modi
“India set an ambitious target of $400 billion of goods exports and achieves this target for the first time ever. This is a key milestone in our Aatmanirbhar Bharat journey,” Mr. Modi said in a message.
Exports had reached $331.02 billion in the pre-pandemic fiscal year of 2018-19. Shipments have so far increased by $25.19 billion during the month of March and by March 31, the total figure is expected to be $410 billion.
Commenting on the development, Mr. Goyal said the boost in the exports was likely to bolster India’s position in the ongoing negotiations for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several trade partners.
Noting that the agriculture sector too had recorded its highest-ever export during 2021-22 with the help of export of “rice, marine products, wheat, spices and sugar”, Mr. Goyal termed the development a “Made in India blockbuster” and a “collective show of strength”.
“A country which is self-confident, which provides for its needs where people respect domestically made products — and we are able to work with the rest of the world from a position of strength and are able to take on challenges of all sorts and compete on the strength of our farmers who toil day and night to produce truly exotic and wonderful fruits and vegetables and our fishermen who go out into the sea... it’s truly a time for all of us to reflect on our strengths and our future,” said Mr. Goyal, who dedicated the achievement to everyone in “Team India”.
The Minister attributed the success to the coordination between the government, the industry and various Ministries, including the diplomatic arm. He said Indian embassies and envoys had explored new opportunities across the world to help achieve the target.
“We broke every silo within the government... our missions abroad, and collectively everybody worked for a common purpose,” said Mr. Goyal who thanked banks, insurance companies and India’s diplomats.
“Crossing $400 billion is a remarkable achievement particularly as we will be adding over $110 billion in one year to reach here, despite huge logistics challenges, including container shortage, sky rocketing freight and liquidity constraints,” said A. Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).