India -- Economic Contexts

[Note: This information derives primarily from the 1995 edition of the CIA World Factbook.]


India's economy is a mixture of traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. Faster economic growth in the 1980s permitted a significant increase in real per capita private consumption. A large share of the population, perhaps as much as 40%, remains too poor to afford an adequate diet. Financial strains in 1990 and 1991 prompted government austerity measures that slowed industrial growth but permitted India to meet its international payment obligations without rescheduling its debt. Production, trade, and investment reforms since 1991 have provided new opportunities for Indian businessmen and an estimated 100 million to 200 million middle class consumers. New Delhi has always paid its foreign debts on schedule and has stimulated exports, attracted foreign investment, and revived confidence in India's economic prospects. Foreign exchange reserves, precariously low three years ago, now total more than $19 billion. Positive factors for the remainder of the 1990s are India's strong entrepreneurial class and the central government's recognition of the continuing need for market-oriented approaches to economic development, for example in upgrading the wholly inadequate communications facilities. Negative factors include the desperate poverty of hundreds of millions of Indians and the impact of the huge and expanding population on an already overloaded environment.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $1.2539 trillion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,360 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $30.85 billion
expenditures: $48.35 billion, including capital expenditures of $10.5 billion (FY93/94)

Exports: $24.4 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: clothing, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures, cotton yarn, and fabric
partners: US, Japan, Germany, UK, Hong Kong

Imports: $25.5 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals
partners: US, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UK, Belgium, Japan

External debt: $89.2 billion (November 1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 7% (1994 est.); accounts for 28% of GDP

capacity: 81,200,000 kW
production: 314 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 324 kWh (1993)

Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery

Agriculture: accounts for 34% of GDP; principal crops - rice, wheat, oilseeds, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; livestock - cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, poultry; See also Traditional Farmers of India (UK website).

Fishing: catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India among the world's top 10 fishing nations.

Illicit drugs: licit producer of opium poppy for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; major transit country for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries; illicit producer of hashish and methaqualone; produced 82 metric tons of illicit opium in 1994

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $4.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-89), $31.7 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $315 million; USSR (1970-89), $11.6 billion; Eastern Europe (1970-89), $105 million

Currency: 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise

Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1 - 31.374 (January 1995), 31.374 (1994), 30.493 (1993), 25.918 (1992), 22.742 (1991), 17.504 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

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