T N Ninan: Flat-lined exports are impeding India's economic momentum

The Modi govt's recent focus on protecting the home market through tariff hikes is unlikely to help exporters; whether it will serve the cause of import substitution remains to be seen

T N Ninan

Back in 2011-12, India’s goods exports – excluding mineral fuels (oil and coal) because their sharp price swings distort the picture – totalled $249 billion. Five years later, in 2016-17, the figure was virtually unchanged at $243 billion. The highest level that the figure reached in the intervening years was $253 billion, in 2014-15. This has been a lost half-decade for India’s exporters — yet the subject has scarcely figured in any economic debate. The current year finally sees the prospect of some change, with a bit of an export surge in recent months, but the full year’s growth may be no more than 10 per cent — poor pickings after five years of flat-lining. During these five years, GDP (gross domestic product) in current dollars has grown by 24 per cent. In relation to the size of the total economy, therefore, exports excluding mineral fuels have shrunk from 13.7 per cent to 10.7 per cent — a clear reversal of trend.   The stri
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First Published: Feb 23 2018 | 11:06 PM IST

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