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Union Budget 2024 : Piyush Goyal says India has sustained exports’ growth despite global challenges

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NEW DELHI : India has sustained its export growth notwithstanding the global challenges emerging due to issues like the Israel-Hamas war and the Budget has laid out a strong foundation to push the economic growth, Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. The minister said that certainly, the country is facing “very severe” challenges due to these conflicts.

“But despite these challenges, India continues to be a bright spot in terms of economy, economic growth, and we continue to broadly sustained our exports…I think, the Indian story is a story of resilience, and strength,” Goyal told in a post-budget interaction.

In her budget speech, Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman stated that geopolitically, global affairs are becoming more complex and challenging due to wars and conflicts.

“Globalization is being redefined with reshoring and friend-shoring, disruption and fragmentation of supply chains, and competition for critical minerals and technologies. A new world order is emerging after the Covid pandemic,” Sitharaman said.

The Russia-Ukraine war, the Isreal-Hamas conflict and the Red Sea crisis have disrupted the global supply chains. Red Sea is the busiest trade route as it accounts for 30 per cent of global container traffic and 12 per cent of global trade.

Goyal said due to these challenges the growth potential on the trade front that we had is “slowing very significantly and showing weakness”.

He added that due to these wars and crises, “our logistics, our shipment lines, out of India for exports” are getting impacted significantly.

India’s exports rose by only 1 per cent to USD 38.45 billion in December 2023 while the trade deficit narrowed to a three-month low of USD 19.8 billion, according to the government data.

Exports during April-December this fiscal dipped by 5.7 per cent to USD 317.12 billion. Imports contracted by 7.93 per cent to USD 505.15 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 188.02 billion in the first three quarters as against USD 212.34 billion in April-December 2022.

Welcoming the budget proposals, Goyal said that the Budget has focused on every section of the society.

Announcements pertaining to e-mobility promotion and increase in infrastructure spending will provide “more and more” opportunities for business and domestic industry, Goyal stated.

“Every infrastructure project means greater degree of sale of goods, steel, cement, furnishing. It touches so many different segments of industry,” Goyal said.

“When we talk about greater exports and greater economic activity, people get opportunities in services, logistics, the transportation sector gets a leg up,” the minister said.

He said that the Budget has laid out a strong foundation to push the country’s economic growth.

Sitharaman announced a Rs 11.11 lakh crore spending on infrastructure and vowed to continue reforms as she resisted resorting to populist measures in Modi government’s last Budget before general elections, instead choosing to stay on the path of cutting deficit while bolstering measures for focus groups.

Giving a sneak preview of what will be the Modi government’s priority in the third term, if re-elected, she said economic policies that foster and sustain growth, facilitate inclusive development and contribute to generation of resources to power investments will be adopted towards making India a developed country by 2047.

“The next five years will be years of unprecedented development and golden moments to realise the dream of developed India by 2047,” she said.

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