Foreign Trade of India 1947-2007 : Trends, Policies and Prospects

On the eve of Independence in 1947, foreign trade of India was typical of a colonial and agricultural economy. Trade relations were mainly confined to Britain and other Commonwealth countries. Exports consisted chiefly of raw materials and plantation crops while imports composed of light consumer goods and other manufactures. Over the last 60 years, India’s foreign trade has undergone a complete change in terms of composition and direction. The exports cover a wide range of traditional and non-traditional items while imports consist mainly of capital goods, petroleum products, raw materials, and chemicals to meet the ever-increasing needs of a developing and diversifying economy. For about 40 years (1950-90, foreign trade of India suffered from strict bureaucratic and discretionary controls. Similarly, foreign exchange transactions were tightly controlled by the Government and the Reserve Bank of India. From 1947 till mid-1990s, India, with some exceptions, always faced deficit in its balance of payments, i.e. imports always exceeded exports. This was characteristic of a developing country struggling for reconstruction and modernization of its economy. Imports galloped because of increasing requirements of capital goods, defence equipment, petroleum products, and raw materials. Exports remained relatively sluggish owing to lack of exportable surplus, competition in the international market, inflation at home, and increasing protectionist policies of the developed countries. Beginning mid-1991, the Government of India introduced a series of reforms to liberalise and globalise the Indian economy. Reforms in the external sector of India were intended to integrate the Indian economy with the world economy. India’s approach to openness has been cautious, contingent on achieving certain preconditions to ensure an orderly process of liberalization and ensuring macroeconomic stability. This approach has been vindicated in recent years with the growing incidence of financial crises elsewhere in the world. All the same, the policy regime in India in regard to liberalization of the foreign sector has witnessed very significant change. In recognition of the growing importance of the foreign trade in driving the economy, this book describes and examines changes in the pattern of India’s foreign trade since Independence in 1947, with focus on post-1991 developments. It addresses issues related to trade policy, export strategy, tariff policy, current account dynamics, exchange rate management, foreign exchange reserves, capital account liberalization, external debt and aid, foreign investments (both direct and portfolio), and WTO.

B4 indeendence

India's economic history can be broadly divided into three eras, beginning with the pre-colonial period lasting up to the 17th century. The advent of British colonisation started the colonial period in the 17th century, which ended with independence in 1947. The third period stretches from independence in 1947 until now.

[edit] Pre-colonial
The citizens of the Indus Valley civilization (based around the river Indus in modern day Pakistan and Northern and Western India), a permanent and predominantly urban settlement that flourished between 2800 BC and 1800 BC, practised agriculture, domesticated animals, used uniform weights and measures, made tools and weapons, and traded with other cities. Evidence of well planned streets, a drainage system and water supply reveals their knowledge of urban planning, which included the world's first urban sanitation systems and the existence of a form of municipal government.

Silver coin minted during the reign of the Gupta king Kumara Gupta I (AD 414-55) The 1872 census revealed that 99.3% of the population of the region constituting present-day India resided in villages,

whose economies were largely isolated and self-sustaining, with

played an influential role in shaping economic activities. Villages paid a portion of their agricultural produce as revenue to the rulers. food processing and crafts. providing for the training of apprentices and. such as textiles.agriculture the predominant occupation. and the caste and the joint family systems. This satisfied the food requirements of the village and provided raw materials for hand-based industries. especially Hinduism. in some . barter was prevalent. Although many kingdoms and rulers issued coins. Religion. ensuring the division of labour. while its craftsmen received a part of the crops at harvest time for their services. [11] [10] The caste system functioned much like medieval European guilds.

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