According to the Commerce Ministry’s data, Indian exports went up by 58.23 per cent, the highest ever in a month, in March as key sectors such as engineering, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals recorded healthy growth rate during the month. The March exports clocked UDS 34 billion, showing impressive signs of further revival for the sector and overall economy as well.
Reacting to March 2021 export figures, Sharad Kumar Saraf, President, Federation of Indian Exports Organisations (FIEO) said that this has been mainly on account of 28 out of 30 major product group of exports showing either a very impressive high positive growth starting with triple digit and almost all ending with a very high double digit growth defying all the odds during these difficult times.
Exports of other cereals, oil meals, iron ore, jute mfg. including floor covering, carpet, electronic goods, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed item, rice, spices, cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc., meat, dairy and poultry products, ceramic products and glassware, drugs and pharmaceuticals, organic and inorganic chemicals, plastic and linoleum, handicrafts excl. hand-made carpet, marine products, man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups etc., mica, coal and other ores, minerals including process, petroleum products, RMG of all textiles, coffee, fruits and vegetables, leather and leather manufactures, tobacco, and tea were the sectors, which contributed towards showing such a whooping performance by the exports sector during the month.
However, exports during April-March 2020-21, fell by 7.4 per cent to USD 290.18 billion against USD 313.36 billion in 2019-20, the data showed.
Such a whooping growth in exports during the month also helped in taking the merchandise exports to over USD 290 billion during such difficult and torrid times, which was well forecasted by FIEO said Saraf. FIEO Chief also reiterated that the support and help provided by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce & Industries during these challenging times has been commendable.
Further an increase in March 2021 imports by about 53 per cent to USD 48.12 billion compared to the same period during the previous fiscal led to a trade deficit of USD 14.11 billion, which is an increase of 41.40 per cent during the month is definitely a concern, which should be looked into.
Oil imports grew by 1.22 per cent to USD 10.17 billion in March. During 2020-21, oil imports dipped by 37 per cent to USD 82.25 billion. Non-oil imports in March were up by 777.12 per cent to USD 37.95 billion. During the full fiscal, the imports contracted by 10.89 per cent to USD 306.67 billion.
FIEO President urges the government to soon notify the RoDTEP rates to remove uncertainty from the minds of the trade and industry thereby forging new contracts with the foreigner buyers. Mr Saraf also reiterated that the government must address some of the key issues including announcement of the new FTP soon after September, 2021, adequate availability of containers, release of the required funds for RoDTEP, MEIS and clarity on SEIS benefits, softening of freight charges, resolving risky exporters' issues and continuance of seamless refund of IGST. Besides long pending demand for the creation of an Export Development Fund for marketing of Brand India products and various other infrastructure bottlenecks also needs to be looked into to bring back exports on the double-digit growth trajectory.
Further since we have momentum with us, we should aim at exports of USD 350 billion in this financial year so that we not only cover the lost ground but also help the economy to move to much needed double digit growth, added President FIEO.
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