The performance of the country's exports is expected to be better in May as compared to April, when the shipments contracted to an all-time high of 60.28 percent, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. He also hoped that the contraction in the growth rate of exports in June would be around 10 percent only.
There was a huge decline in exports in April but "my sense is that in May, it will improve significantly", he said while speaking at CII's Export Summit through video conference.
The minister expects that the exports will be down by about 30-35 percent in May.
Goyal said three main things -- reviving manufacturing, diversifying export basket, focusing on newer and accepting markets -- will drive the economy going forward.
Further, he said Indian industries, entrepreneurs and start-ups should see what new markets have opened up domestically for them and work on those.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"Our agriculture export potential is huge. Rice, including Basmati, animal husbandry products and organic products, among many others, we have an opportunity to work together as partners and expand India's footprint," he said adding that diversification along with consolidation will help grow product basket and expand India's presence horizontally across the world.
He said building upon the domestic demands, with surplus going to export, will push India to newer heights.
The ministry, he said, is working on identifying several sectors that holds potential for the domestic industry.
He added that the sectors include auto components, furniture, air conditioners (ACs), set-top boxes, pharma, organic products, agri-chemicals, textiles, toys and lithium-ion batteries.
"Why we should be importing auto components. That needs to be changed. Why we should import $2 billion worth of furniture. Why we are importing ACs and components like compressors... We are looking at promoting APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) in India," Goyal said.
The ministry has asked Nasscom to look at strategy for $500-billion IT services exports in the next five years, he said.
Contracting for the second straight month, India's exports shrank by a record 60.28 percent in April to $10.36 billion, mainly on account of the coronavirus lockdown. Imports also plunged by 58.65 percent to $17.12 billion in April, leaving a trade deficit of $6.76 billion as against $15.33 billion in April 2019.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.