India’s Exports in Peril: Understanding the Downhill Trend with Bursting Resilience


India’s once soaring economy, which achieved record-breaking exports of $775 billion in the last fiscal year (2022-23), now confronts challenges with a rocky start for outbound shipments.


GS – 03 (Growth & Development) (Mobilization of Resources)


  • Top Exporting District in India,
  • Russia-Ukraine War.
  • Industry 4.0 technologies.
  • Space.
  • Semiconductor.

Mains Questions:

  • Assess the recent trends in India’s exports and their impact on domestic growth impulses amid the global slowdown. (150 words)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Exports Hit Rough Waters: A Decline Amidst Global Turmoil
  • Import Bill Conundrum: Commodities and Domestic Demand Dwindle
  • Services Exports – An Uneasy Growth Trajectory
  • Global Economic Indicators Offer Flickers of Hope

Exports Hit Rough Waters: A Decline Amidst Global Turmoil

  • The Indian economy, which soared to unprecedented heights with record-breaking exports of $775 billion in the last fiscal year (2022-23), is now grappling with the tumultuous challenges of the present.
  • During the April to June 2023 quarter, India’s exports faced a worrisome 15.1% contraction, dealing a blow to growth expectations.
  • The provisional export figures for June stood at a meager $33 billion, representing a 22% year-on-year plunge, akin to the initial COVID-19 lockdown months.

Import Bill Conundrum: Commodities and Domestic Demand Dwindle

  • The slowdown’s ripples are also evident in the import segment, though at a slower pace than exports. A 12.7% decline in the import bill during the first quarter is attributed to the moderating commodity prices.
  • Last year’s surge in the import bill by 44.5% due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict has now given way to a slump in non-oil, non-gold imports by 10.5%.
  • The second quarter saw an acceleration in the decline of non-oil, non-gold imports from 2% in May to a concerning 16.7% in June, indicating a dampening of domestic demand triggers.
  • Such a scenario might restrict the widening of goods trade deficit but poses a formidable challenge to India’s growth impulses, especially in the face of a gathering global slowdown.

Services Exports – An Uneasy Growth Trajectory

  • The IT sector, a prominent driver of intangible exports, has expressed cautiousness and pessimism regarding their earnings guidance for the current year, foreshadowing potentially harsher times ahead.
  • With global demand also on fragile ground, foreign direct investments might suffer, amplified by tightening monetary policies and looming financial market volatility.
  • The Finance Ministry’s warning about potential threats to the projected 6.5% growth rate for the year cannot be taken lightly.

Global Economic Indicators Offer Flickers of Hope

  • Retail sales in the U.K. exhibited marginal improvement in June, signaling resilience amidst challenges. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s confident outlook suggests that a recession in the world’s largest economy could be averted.
  • Further encouraging signs emerge from eased inflation numbers in Europe and the U.S., fostering hopes of a shift towards interest rate pauses instead of tightening measures to control demand and activity.

Way Forward:

  • Prioritizing Resilience and Navigating the Downhill Drive: The focus should lie on nurturing the few bright spots, like the rising shipments of electronic goods. It is imperative to reevaluate and ease trade barriers or restrictions hindering the growth of other products in international markets. Additionally, India must take proactive measures to bolster its competitiveness vis-à-vis countries like Vietnam to ensure a robust foothold in global trade.
  • Vigilance and Incremental Growth: To regain its footing on the global export stage, India must adopt a vigilant approach to track and understand diverse market trends worldwide. By capitalizing on even fractional increments of global demand, Indian exporters can potentially gain momentum in the uphill battle.


India’s export journey has been marked by tremendous achievements and challenges alike. As we confront the headwinds of the global slowdown, it is essential to remember that resilience and adaptability are the cornerstones of success. The decline in exports should serve as a clarion call for concerted efforts from policymakers, businesses, and all stakeholders to navigate this downhill drive with determination and unwavering dedication. By embracing bursts of creativity and strategic insights, India can chart a course towards economic resurgence and secure a brighter future amidst the prevailing uncertainty.