Atmanirbhar Bharat: Making India an Economic Superpower
India recently clocked its all-time highest figures in both merchandise and services with a value of USD 776 billion in 2022- 23, nearly double from 2013-14. Merchandise exports took a larger share of almost USD 450 billion, while services also contributed in equal terms clocking around USD 326 billion.
Agricultural exports have risen to an all-time high. The story of India’s foreign trade is nothing less than a roller coaster ride. The colonial administration drained Indian resources for almost 200 years. At the dawn of Indian independence, the country depended on imports, even for basic things like food grains.
Today, India is a net exporter of food grains. Some of the largest exports of India include Basmati and non-Basmati rice as well as Wheat. Cereals constitute almost 3% of India’s overall exports. There have been more than 600 times growth in the value of overall exports from India since Independence.
Under the Districts as Export Hubs Initiative, services, and products that have export potential have been identified. Agricultural products are being exported through various exit points. For example, Jalgaon Banana & Bhagalpuri Zardalu Mango have been exported to UAE & UK respectively.
The perception of India being a third-world developing country remained throughout the last century. India, a technology powerhouse, is now exporting more and more value-added and high-end exports. For example, the exports of tractors rose by more than 2.5 times to Rs. 7613 crore during April-October 2022-23 compared to Rs. 2760 crore during the same period in 2013-14. Further, the Indian Space Research Organization provides space-related services to various international organizations including NASA today.
During FY 2022-23, Electronic exports have become the 6th largest export commodity group surpassing readymade garments. Electronic goods exports were recorded at USD 23.57 Billion in FY 2022-23, registering a growth of 50.52 percent compared to FY 2021-22. Imports of electronic goods from China have seen a decline of around $2 billion in 2022-23 (Apr-Feb) compared to the same period last year. Import share from China in electronic goods has also declined from 48.1% in 2021-22 (Apr-Feb) to 41.9% in 2022-23 (Apr-Feb).
Export of Mobile handsets from India increased from over INR 1,566 crore (USD 0.25 Billion) in FY 2014-15 to INR 35,696 crore (USD 4.44 Billion) in FY 2021- 22. The value of export of mobile phones in FY 2022-23 (till Jan 2023) stood at INR 68,605 Crore (USD 8.5 Billion), which has approximately doubled as compared to the same period of the preceding year.
The top ten destinations of export during April-February, 2022-23 along with percentage shares are i. USA (17.46%) ii. UAE (7.03%) iii. Netherland (4.53%) iv. China PRP (3.33%) v. Singapore (2.69%) vi. Bangladesh PR (2.60%) vii. UK (2.52%) viii. Saudi Arab (2.37%) ix. Hong Kong (2.29%) x. Germany (2.25%) and these top 10 destinations together accounted for about 47.06% of India’s total export.
India’s growth story is best told by the service sector exports. In the 1950s, India had nothing to be exported under the banner of services. By the 1970s, IT companies started operating and taking outsourced work from the USA, Canada and Europe. From 1995 to 2008, India’s share of the world’s service export reached from 0.6% to 2.7%. Today, led by companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies,
India is a global leader in software services. The whole government approach involving effective and efficient coordination of export promotion schemes among all stakeholders to break silos helped achieve record exports. To further boost trade, India has signed almost 11 Free Trade Agreements with various countries or regions like ASEAN, SAARC, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, and UAE.
Other flagship initiatives which serve as catalysts for exports are Make in India, implementation of GST, PLI schemes, etc. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat was aimed at making India a manufacturing powerhouse that not only meets domestic demand but also serves the world as an export hub.
The export surge is helping all sections of society viz., farmers, artisans, weavers, factory workers, and small businesses. It is also helping small and big businesses create huge direct and indirect employment opportunities, scale up operations and become more competitive in the global markets.
The day is not far when India will regain its status as a global trading power which it used to be during the pre-colonial era when India had almost 25% of the world’s GDP share.