Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 India’s Trade Performance in a Declining Global Market

GS-3 : Economy

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the performance of India’s major export categories, including petroleum products, electronics goods, and miscellaneous products, in the context of recent global trade dynamics.

Global Trade Slowdown

  • Global merchandise trade has been shrinking since mid-2022 (UN Conference on Trade and Development data).
  • Global merchandise exports fell by 4.6% in 2023.
  • However, the January-March 2024 quarter showed some improvement.

India’s Trade Performance

  • India’s merchandise exports mirrored the global trend, falling 4.7% in 2023.
  • This performance was better than developing Asia as a whole (exports down 6.8%).
  • In 2023-24, India’s merchandise exports:
    • Stood at $437.1 billion (down 3.1% from 2022-23).
    • Showed signs of recovery:
      • After an 8.9% contraction in the first half of the year.
      • Exports grew by 2.8% in the second half.
      • Exports grew at a faster pace of 4.5% in the last quarter of 2023-24.

Performance of Major Export Categories

1.Petroleum Products:

  • Sharp decline in crude oil prices led to a significant drop in overall export value.
  • Petroleum export bill was $13.3 billion lower due to a $13 per barrel drop in crude oil prices.
  • Oil remains India’s largest export item (over 20% share), impacting total earnings.
  • However, India exported more petroleum products in volume terms last year.

2.Electronics Goods:

  • Impressive 24% growth in electronics goods exports, driven by:
    • Surging telecom equipment/mobile handset exports due to the Production Linked Incentive scheme.
    • Significant increase in electronics goods’ share of total exports (from 2% in 2017-18 to 6.5% in 2023-24).
  • Trade deficit in electronics goods persists, but the ratio of electronics exports to imports has improved (from 0.11 to 0.34) due to telecom equipment surge.

3.Miscellaneous Products (excluding Petroleum & Gems & Jewellery)

  • Core exports (excluding petroleum and gems & jewellery) grew 1.4% despite declining global commodity prices.
  • This suggests India shipped a higher volume of goods.
  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry estimates show growth in items comprising 45% of India’s merchandise exports.
  • Other core categories like pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, and agricultural products also saw healthy export growth.
  • Notably, agriculture and allied exports remained healthy despite export curbs on some items, driven by categories like meat, poultry, spices, fruits & vegetables, and oilseeds.

  India’s Largest Export Destinations

  • US (India’s largest market):
    • Despite strong US economic growth in 2023, India’s exports to the US contracted in 2023-24 (US growth led by services).
    • Uptick in recent months.
  • Eurozone:
    • Exports grew despite a sharp economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainties.
    • Led by petroleum products, machinery, pharmaceuticals, auto & auto parts.
  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries:
    • Exports rose, reflecting an increase to the UAE (India’s largest export destination in the GCC).
    • Notably, India’s gems & jewellery exports to the UAE surged 42.3% (Apr-Feb 2023-24) despite an overall decline in gems & jewellery exports.

Concern: Low Exports from Labour-intensive Sectors

  • Exports from Labour-intensive sectors declined in 2023:
    • Gems & jewellery
    • Textile products (ready-made garments)
    • Leather & leather products
    • Marine products
    • Plastics
  • Share of these categories in India’s merchandise exports has fallen drastically over the last decade.
    • Gems & jewellery: 13.2% (2014-15) to 7.5% (2023-24)
    • Textiles: 11.1% (2014-15) to 7.5% (2023-24)
  • Arresting this decline is a priority.

Positive Outlook for India’s Exports

  • Upward revision of global growth and trade projections by multilateral agencies favour’s India’s export growth.
    • S&P Global: Global growth at 3.2% in 2024 (up from 2.8%)
    • WTO: World trade volume to grow 2.6% in 2024 (from -1.2% in 2023)
  • Bilateral free-trade agreements and focus on manufacturing should also spur exports.


  • Base case scenario: Exports grow at a healthy rate, contributing to overall growth.
  • Potential spoilers: Uneven global growth and geopolitical tensions.


Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-2: Manipur: A Year After Ethnic Violence

GS-2 : Polity

Revision Notes

Question :Examine the shortcomings of the Manipur state government in addressing the aftermath of ethnic violence and promoting social cohesion.

Uneasy Calm in Manipur

  • A year after ethnic violence, Manipur remains tense despite no large-scale violence in the last eight months.
  • However, sporadic clashes between Meiteis and Kuki-Zomis continue, undermining claims of normalcy.

Scars of the Conflict

  • Over 200 lives lost
  • Families displaced in refugee camps
  • Reports of gruesome violence against women
  • Vigilante groups active

Recent Violence

  • Gun battle between villages during Lok Sabha polls (1 death, 2 injured)
  • CRPF personnel killed in Bishnupur district attack

Failed Attempts at Dialogue

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah formed a committee for healing after the May 2023 violence.
  • The committee faced internal differences due to Manipur’s complex social structure.
  • Landholding patterns and colonial policies that divided the state further complicate matters.
  • CM Biren Singh’s government has done little to reassure communities, especially hill tribes.
  • His focus on insider-outsider rhetoric has stoked tensions.

State Government’s Shortcomings

  • While cracking down on drug smugglers is positive, the government:
    • Glosses over political and administrative failures.
    • Blames illegal Myanmar migrants (of Kuki-Zomi ethnicity) for problems.
    • Neglects measures to improve livelihoods (Manipur has the 3rd lowest per capita income in India).

The Path to Healing

  • Manipur needs a combination of economic, political, and administrative remedies.
  • The Biren Singh government must prioritize these measures to fulfill its mandate.


  • A year after the violence, Manipur requires a “healing touch” from the state government to address ethnic tensions and build lasting peace.


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