The country's exports jumped by 58.23 per cent to USD 34 billion, the highest ever reached in a month, in March as key sectors such as engineering, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals recorded healthy growth rate during the month, according to the Commerce Ministry's provisional data.
Exports during April-March 2020-21, however, dipped by 7.4 per cent to USD 290.18 billion compared to USD 313.36 billion in 2019-20, the data showed.
Imports during 2020-21 contracted by 18 per cent to USD 388.92 billion compared to USD 474.71 billion during 2019-20. In March 2020, the exports stood at USD 21.49 billion, showing a decline of about 34 per cent over March 2019 due to global slowdown induced by the Covid-19 crisis.
"India's merchandise exports in March 2021 were USD 34.0 billion as compared to USD 21.49 billion in March 2020, an increase of 58.23 per cent," the ministry said in a statement. It said that "first time ever in a month", exports have crossed USD 34 billion mark.
Imports too rose by 52.89 per cent to USD 48.12 billion as against USD 31.47 billion in March 2020.
The trade deficit during the month widened to USD 14.12 billion as against USD 9.98 billion in March 2020.
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 USD 37.95 billion. During the full fiscal, the imports contracted by 10.89 per cent to USD 306.67 billion. Gold imports jumped to USD 7.17 billion during the month under review.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet said: "Make in India, Make for the World: Merchandise exports in March 2021 grew by 58 per cent year-on-year to USD 34 billion, the highest ever in Indian history. PM @NarendraModi ji's policies have propelled Indian economy to historic new heights, despite the pandemic".
Federation of Indian Exports Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said that despite issues related with container shortage and movement of ships Suez Canal, the exports have crossed USD 290 billion. "It is extremely good growth looking into COVID-19 challenges," he said.
FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf said that the monthly exports showed a whopping double digit growth, showing not only impressive signs of further revival for the sector but for overall economy as well.
"Such a whopping growth in exports during the month also helped in taking the merchandise exports to over USD 290 billion during such difficult and torrid times," he added.