Merchandise exports fell by 12.41 per cent in June, albeit at a much lower rate than the 36.47 per cent seen in May and 60.28 per cent in April, as the lockdown was lifted. Petroleum products, textiles, electronic goods, and engineering goods, among other items, showed contraction. However, drugs and pharma, crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic, saw a growth of about 10 per cent.
Interestingly, exports of $21.91 billion and imports of $21.11 billion resulted in a surplus of around $800 million in trade balance in June. India is generally a net importer, and the country had a trade surplus last in January 2002, when it stood at $10 million.
The minister said both government and industry are in regular touch to capitalise on the gains and not lose the momentum in exports.
Goyal, who is also the Rail Minister, said that for the past 11 days, Indian railways have been running freight trains at twice the seed at what they were running at one year ago. From 23 km/h, trains are now running at 46 km/hour. This would obviously lead to faster transportation of goods and more efficient services as a result of which 4 per cent more freight has been moved over the last 11 days as compared to the same period in the previous year, he added.
"For the first time in the history of railways, rather than customers pleading with the Railways that their goods be given priority access, now all the 69 rail divisions in the country have their own business development unit and they are reaching out to industry for more freight," said Goyal.