The increase in total exports was supported by significant growth in several key sectors
India’s total exports, including merchandise and services, slightly surpassed last year’s figures, setting a new record in the fiscal year 2023-24. Official data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry indicates that exports reached USD 776.68 billion, marginally higher than the previous year's USD 776.40 billion.

In a year marked by significant global economic challenges, India's exports displayed resilience, with a marginal year-on-year growth. This performance highlights the effectiveness of recent trade policies and the diversity of the country’s export sectors.

Sector-Specific Performance

The slight increase in total exports was supported by significant growth in several key sectors:

* Electronic Goods: Exports surged by 23.64% to USD 29.12 billion.
* Drugs and Pharmaceuticals: Increased by 9.67% to USD 27.85 billion.
* Engineering Goods: Grew by 2.13%, amounting to USD 109.32 billion.

These sectors benefited from targeted governmental support, including the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, which has enhanced manufacturing capabilities and global competitiveness.

Agricultural and Non-Petroleum Exports

Agricultural exports also saw notable increases, particularly in commodities like Tobacco, Fruits and Vegetables, and Dairy products, all registering double-digit growth percentages. Moreover, non-petroleum and non-gems & jewellery exports rose by 1.45% from USD 315.64 billion in FY 2022-23 to USD 320.21 billion in FY 2023-24, evidencing broad-based strength across export categories.

Trade Deficit Improvements

The overall trade deficit significantly improved, contracting by 35.77% to USD 78.12 billion in FY 2023-24 from USD 121.62 billion in the prior year. This reduction was mirrored in the merchandise trade deficit, which narrowed by 9.33% to USD 240.17 billion, reflecting effective management of import levels and a stronger export base.

The government's strategic initiatives, particularly the PLI scheme, have played a crucial role in this performance by fostering sectoral growth and better integration into global trade networks. These measures are not only enhancing exports but also reducing import dependency, positioning India favorably on the global stage.

Despite the overall positive annual performance, March 2024 saw a decline in exports with merchandise exports decreasing by 0.7% to USD 41.68 billion and services exports by 6.3% to USD 28.54 billion. However, these figures do not overshadow the annual achievements.

India has sustained export growth, despite adverse global conditions, and consistently expanded its role in international trade and shows massive potential to continue this trajectory in the future. The current statistics indicate that India’s economy is ready to face the ongoing global economic uncertainties head on.