While fully, firmly and finally espousing the legal right of the accused, the Karnataka High Court in an extremely learned, laudable, landmark and latest judgment titled M Ajithkumar vs The State By Food Inspector, Koppa in Criminal Revision Petition No. 1527/2016 and cited in 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 234 that was pronounced finally on June 24, 2022 has set aside the conviction that was handed down under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act by the Trial Court for a charge which it did not frame against the accused and remanded the matter back to be considered afresh. A Single Judge Bench of Justice HP Sandesh while allowing the petition filed by one M Ajithkumar said that, “There is a glaring error on the part of the Trial Court since charge has been framed for Section 7(1) of the Act and conviction and sentence is passed for the violation of Section 7(2) of the Act. The Appellate Court also failed to take note of this aspect into consideration and concentrated mainly on the minimum sentence.” We thus see that the Karnataka High Court very rightly sets aside the conviction and sentence order passed by the court below.
To start with, this refreshing, remarkable, robust and rational judgment authored by a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Mr Justice HP Sandesh sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “This criminal revision petition is filed under Section 397 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying this Court to set aside the judgment passed by the Civil Judge and JMFC, Koppa dated 24.04.2013 in C.C.No.451/2008 and also set aside the judgment dated 09.11.2016 passed in Crl.A.No.233/2013 by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Chikkamagaluru and acquit the revision petitioner for the offences alleged against him and grant such other relief as deems fit in the circumstances of the case.”
While elaborating on prosecution case, the Bench then states in para 2 that, “The factual matrix of the case of the prosecution is that the Food Inspector, Koppa has visited the shop belonging to the accused No.1-M. Umar on 16.02.2008 situate at Koppa and inspected the food articles and examined 20 packs each containing 200 miligrams of sungift refined cooking oil and found that there is adulteration in the said oil and noticed that the said oil was supplied by the revision petitioner and filed the complaint against the accused persons stating that they have violated Section 7(2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (‘the Act’ for short) and thereby committed the offence punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the said Act.”
Needless to say, the Bench then specifies in para 3 that, “Based on the complaint, cognizance was taken against this revision petitioner and accused No.1 and both of them not pleaded guilty. Hence, the prosecution, in order to prove their case, examined P.Ws.1 to 4 and relied upon the documents Exs.P1 to P13(a) and two memo of objects were marked as M.Os.1 and 2 containing sungift refined cooking oil.”
To put things in perspective, the Bench then envisages in para 4 that, “The Trial Court, after considering both oral and documentary evidence placed on record, convicted both the accused and imposed sentence of fine of Rs.4,000/- each, failing which they are liable to serve the sentence of simple imprisonment for seven months. The accused No.1 paid the fine amount and the prosecution also challenged the inadequate sentence and filed appeal in Criminal Appeal No.233/2013 and the First Appellate Court reversed the judgment of the Trial Court and imposed sentence of six months vide judgment dated 09.11.2016. Hence, the revision petitioner-accused No.2 has filed this revision petition.”
As we see, the Bench then stipulates in para 22 that, “Having heard the respective counsel and also on perusal of the material on record, the points that would arise for consideration of this Court are:
(i) Whether the revision petitioner has made out a ground to exercise the revisional jurisdiction to set aside the orders passed by the Trial Court as well as the First Appellate Court?
(ii) What order?”
It is worth mentioning that the Bench then observes in para 23 that, “Having heard the respective counsel and also on perusal of the material available before the Court, the Trial Court imposed fine of Rs.4,000/- each and accordingly, accused No.1 deposited the fine amount and whether the accused No.2, the revision petitioner herein has deposited the amount or not is not forthcoming. Admittedly, this petitioner has also not challenged the same in any appeal before the Appellate Court i.e., the sentence of fine imposed by the Trial Court. However, the State has filed an appeal before the First Appellate Court on the ground of inadequate sentence. Hence, the Appellate Court modified the sentence of simple imprisonment for a period of six months, instead of fine of Rs.4,000/-.”
No doubt, the Bench then rightly points out in para 24 that, “The first and the foremost contention of the learned counsel for the revision petitioner before this Court is that there was no adulteration and it was only a misbranding. The counsel also relied upon the document Ex.P10 i.e., the report received from the Divisional Public Analyst cum Regional Assistant Chemical Examiner, Mysuru Division, N.P.C. Hospital Compound, Nazarbad, Mysuru, wherein it is opined that the sample sent for analyst is not adulterated but, it is misbranded wide label-3(e) and the said report is given on 6th day of March, 2008. On perusal of the records of the Trial Court, it is seen that the charge was framed on 18th August, 2011 subsequent to receipt of the report. On perusal of the charges, it is seen that the trial Judge has framed the charge for the offence under Section 7 of the Act, particularly, Section 7(1) in respect of adulteration of food and Section 7(2) is in respect of misbranding food. The charge has been framed for the offence under Section 7(1) i.e., adulteration of food and that is not the case of the prosecution and the case of the prosecution is misbranding.”
Be it noted, the Bench then most commendably enunciates in para 25 that, “On perusal of the complaint which is dated 8th July 2008 particularly, page No.2 in the bottom, it is stated that the information given in the packet is erroneous and also referred that the report of the analyst is misbranded and categorically mentioned in page No.3 that there is violation of Section 7(2) of the Act, punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the Act. However, the allegation against this petitioner is that he has not issued cash bill in terms of Section 14 of the Act and he had distributed the oil packet, wherein also specifically mentioned that the petitioner has violated Section 7(2) of the Act, punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the Act. But, the trial Judge has framed the charge for the offence under Section 7(1) of the Act and not for the offence under Section 7(2) of the Act. It is also important to note that the complaint dated 8th day of July, 2008 is subsequent to the receipt of the report from the analyst which is marked as Ex.P10 which is dated 6th day of March, 2008. Hence, it is clear that the report is received on 6th day of March, 2008 and complaint is filed in the month of July i.e., 8th day of July, 2008 and inspite of it, though allegation is in respect of Section 7(2) of the Act, the Trial Court framed the charge for the offence under Section 7(1) of the Act. Hence, very framing of the charge itself is erroneous.”
Most forthrightly, the Bench then mandates in para 26 that, “It has to be noted that the trial Judge, even while passing the judgment invoked Section 7(2) of the Act punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the Act and not altered the Section from 7(1) to 7(2) of the Act. It is also rightly pointed by the learned counsel for the revision petitioner that no notice was given to invoke Section 7(2) of the Act and though the same is noticed by the Trial Court, the charge has been framed for violation of Section 7(1) of the Act and punishment was provided for the violation of Section 7(2) of the Act. Hence, there is a glaring error on the part of the Trial Court since charge has been framed for Section 7(1) of the Act and conviction and sentence is passed for the violation of Section 7(2) of the Act. The Appellate Court also failed to take note of this aspect into consideration and concentrated mainly on the minimum sentence. Hence, the very judgment of the Trial Court as well as the First Appellate Court requires to be set aside on the ground that the charge has been framed for violation of Section 7(1) of the Act and conviction and sentence has been passed for violation of Section 7(2) of the Act.”
Most significantly, the Bench then holds in para 27 that, “The other contentions of the learned counsel for the revision petitioner are that, no authorization to file any complaint and the delegatee also cannot delegate the powers. He also would contend that no notification was produced regarding appointment of Food Inspector and the independent witnesses have not been examined. It is also his contention that non-furnishing of report of Public Analyst and misbranding of label does not require any opinion from the Public Analyst. When charge has not been properly framed and conviction and sentence is passed for in respect of violation under Section 7(2) of the Act, it is appropriate to set aside the judgments of both the Trial Court as well as the First Appellate Court by keeping open the other contentions of the learned counsel for the revision petitioner and remand the matter to the Trial Court for framing appropriate charges and consider the matter afresh. If need arises, the Trial Court shall also permit the prosecution as well as the revision petitioner to adduce evidence before the Trial Court since, proper charge has to be framed and an opportunity has to be given to the revision petitioner to meet the case of the prosecution and unless the charge is specific, meeting the case of the prosecution by the defence is also very difficult. Hence, the judgment and sentence passed by the Trial Court as well as the First Appellate Court is not legally sustainable in the eye of law and it requires fresh consideration. Accordingly, I answer point No.(i) as ‘affirmative’.”
Finally and far most significantly, the Bench then concludes by holding in para 28 that, “In view of the discussions made above, I pass the following:
(i) The criminal revision petition is allowed.
(ii) The judgment passed by the Civil Judge and JMFC, Koppa dated 24.04.2013 in C.C.No.451/2008 and the judgment passed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Chikkamagaluru dated 09.11.2016 in Crl.A.No.233/2013 are set aside. The matter is remanded to the Trial Court to consider the matter afresh in accordance with law within a period of six months, since the matter is of the year 2008.
(iii) The revision petitioner and the prosecution are directed to appear before the Trial Court on 25th July, 2022 without expecting any notice.
(iv) The respective parties are directed to assist the Trial Court in disposal of the case within the stipulated time.
(v) The Registry is directed to transmit the records forthwith to the concerned Court.”
In a nutshell, the Karnataka High Court has thus not left even a straw of doubt to make it indubitably clear that the accused can’t be convicted for a charge which is not framed by the Trial Court. It merits no reiteration that all the Courts must definitely pay heed to what the Karnataka High Court has held in this leading case. Of course, we thus see that the matter has been very rightly remanded to the Trial Court to consider the matter afresh in accordance with the law within a period of six months, since the matter is of the year 2008 as mentioned above. No denying it.
Be it noted, the Bench then most commendably enunciates in para 25 that, “On perusal of the complaint which is dated 8th July 2008 particularly, page No.2 in the bottom, it is stated that the information given in the packet is erroneous and also referred that the report of the analyst is misbranded and categorically mentioned in page No.3 that there is violation of Section 7(2) of the Act, punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the Act. However, the allegation against this petitioner is that he has not issued cash bill in terms of Section 14 of the Act and he had distributed the oil packet, wherein also specifically mentioned that the petitioner has violated Section 7(2) of the Act, punishable under Section 16(a)(i) of the Act”.
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Global challenges call for practical solutions, says India
In response to the global implications of the Ukraine-Russia war, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasized the importance of pragmatic approaches in dealing with challenges and crises. Speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting during a session on ‘energy and rivalry,’ Puri cited India’s example, highlighting the country’s swift and pragmatic response to the energy crisis triggered by the conflict.
Puri, who serves as the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas as well as Housing and Urban Affairs, underscored India’s commitment to addressing domestic needs, particularly the responsibility of providing three meals a day to its large population. Despite these challenges, Puri emphasized that India has not allowed its domestic compulsions to hinder global commitments toward a sustainable future.
Acknowledging the necessity of pragmatism, European Commission’s Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, concurred with Puri’s perspective. The discussion among panellists, representing various sectors, delved into the interlinkage of energy and geopolitics, with countries openly competing to diversify their global energy supplies, encompassing oil, gas, and clean energy solutions.
The discussion at the World Economic Forum highlighted the critical nature of energy security and its intersection with geopolitical dynamics. Panellists, including representatives from industry and academia, delved into the challenges posed by the interlinked nature of energy and global politics. As nations openly compete to diversify their energy sources, the need for resilient and secure energy supply chains has become paramount. The session underscored the urgency for collaborative and pragmatic solutions to address the evolving energy landscape.
Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasized India’s strategic decision-making in the face of the Ukraine-Russia war, particularly in managing the potential fallout on fuel prices. He reiterated that India’s ability to navigate these challenges pragmatically has not only shielded the country from drastic fuel price hikes but has also showcased its commitment to global sustainability goals. The minister’s insights shed light on the delicate balance India maintains between addressing domestic needs and upholding international commitments.
Kadri Simson, the European Commission’s Commissioner for Energy, echoed the sentiment of pragmatism, acknowledging its necessity in the complex realm of global energy dynamics. The acknowledgment from European quarters underscores the shared understanding that nations must adopt flexible and practical approaches to secure their energy future while addressing domestic imperatives. Simson’s perspective further emphasized the need for a cooperative and adaptable global approach to energy challenges.
The evolving energy landscape has witnessed shifts not only in terms of traditional resources like oil and gas but also in the growing emphasis on clean energy solutions. The panelists explored how countries are actively seeking cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to meet their energy needs. The discussions underscored the importance of technological innovation, renewable energy adoption, and collaborative international efforts to address climate change and ensure a secure energy future.
In short, the session provided a platform for diverse voices to converge on the challenges and opportunities arising at the nexus of energy and geopolitics. As the world grapples with the aftermath of global crises, India’s pragmatic approach serves as a testament to the importance of adaptive policymaking and global collaboration in securing a sustainable and resilient energy future for nations across the globe.
PM Modi empowers 1 lakh tribals with Rs 540 crore launch
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured inclusive development on Monday, stating that the benefits of welfare schemes must reach everyone, even those in the remotest areas, as he released the first instalment of Rs 540 crore for one lakh beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN). Highlighting a decade of dedication to the welfare of the poor, Modi emphasized the substantial increase in the budgets of welfare schemes for Scheduled Tribes and the growth in scholarships for tribal students. The government aims to construct over 500 Eklavya model schools to enhance educational opportunities for tribal communities.
Prime Minister Modi credited President Droupadi Murmu, India’s first tribal woman head of state, for her guidance in formulating the PM-JANMAN scheme. He noted that Diwali celebrations extend to the homes of one lakh families benefiting from the rural housing scheme, emphasizing the joy brought by the first instalment of funds for constructing their own houses.
Modi underscored the government’s commitment to ensuring that extremely backward sections of the tribal population benefit from every welfare scheme. He highlighted the government’s efforts in constructing more than four crore pucca houses for the poor, reaching out to those previously ignored, and emphasized the worship of marginalized communities.
During the event, Prime Minister Modi interacted with beneficiaries of PM-JANMAN who shared positive changes in their lives, including access to cooking gas, electricity, piped water, and housing. He reiterated the government’s endeavour to leave no one out of its welfare schemes, emphasizing the comprehensive approach to socio-economic development.
The first instalment of Rs 540 crore was released for beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin under the PM-JANMAN scheme. Launched for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), the scheme focuses on 11 critical interventions through nine ministries, with a budget of approximately Rs 24,000 crore. The aim is to improve the socio-economic conditions of PVTGs by providing basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water, sanitation, education, health, nutrition, electricity, road connectivity, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Aligned with the vision of Antyodaya to empower the last person at the last mile, PM-JANMAN represents the government’s commitment to uplift PVTGs. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his dedication to the socio-economic welfare of these vulnerable groups and the ongoing efforts to address their basic needs and uplift their living standards.
Prime Minister Modi’s interaction with beneficiaries showcased the tangible impact of government initiatives on improving the lives of individuals. The release of the first instalment, totalling Rs 540 crore, reflects the government’s sustained commitment to addressing the housing needs of rural communities. Additionally, the acceptance of proposals worth Rs 4700 crore by various ministries underscores a comprehensive approach, covering pucca houses, roads, girls’ hostels, Anganwadi centers, medical units, and multipurpose centers. This acceptance signifies a proactive stance in addressing the pressing needs of extremely backward regions.
The overarching vision of inclusive development was further emphasized as Prime Minister Modi discussed the significance of Diwali celebrations reaching the homes of families benefitting from the housing scheme. This symbolic connection between a national festival and the distribution of funds underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring that the fruits of development and welfare schemes reach every household, fostering a sense of joy and prosperity.
The launch of PM-JANMAN and its subsequent implementation highlight the practical realization of the Antyodaya vision, where the welfare of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities takes precedence. With a substantial budget allocation and a focus on critical interventions, the scheme reflects the government’s intent to create a holistic impact on the socio-economic conditions of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. Prime Minister Modi’s direct engagement with beneficiaries reinforces the message that the government is not only delivering promises but actively seeking feedback to fine-tune its initiatives for maximum impact and inclusivity.
Five mega projects revving up India in 2024
India is poised to unveil a slew of significant infrastructure projects in 2024, marking a pivotal stride toward bolstering the nation’s development landscape. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to inaugurate five major infrastructure projects, including the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), Navi Mumbai International Airport, Noida International Airport, Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, and the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, ahead of the 2024 elections.
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, stretching over 21.6 km, connects Mumbai city with mainland Navi Mumbai and is set for inauguration on January 12. This ambitious project aims to significantly truncate travel time between the two regions to a mere 20-25 minutes, rendering it the longest sea bridge constructed in India. With an estimated cost of INR 18,000 crore, the MTHL is a culmination of years of planning and a testament to infrastructural advancement.
Scheduled for operational readiness by the end of 2024, the Noida International Airport, constructed by Yamuna International Airport Private Ltd, is taking shape with rapid progress. Currently, around 80 percent of the airport’s runway work is complete, and the air traffic control building is nearing finalization. This greenfield airport, situated in the Jewar area of Gautam Buddh Nagar district, will serve as the second international commercial airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) and is projected to accommodate millions of passengers annually upon full completion.
The Navi Mumbai International Airport, managed by Adani Airports Holdings Ltd., is another critical infrastructure venture expected to commence operations in 2024. Located at Ulwe in Navi Mumbai, this airport, sprawling over 1,160 hectares, aims to handle substantial air traffic and cargo, further reinforcing the aviation network within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
These infrastructural milestones, coupled with the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, underscore India’s commitment to fostering connectivity, economic growth, and enhanced accessibility across major regions. The completion of these projects is anticipated to catalyze economic development, ease transportation bottlenecks, and elevate India’s infrastructure to new heights.
These anticipated inaugurations represent a significant leap in India’s infrastructural evolution, reflecting a concerted effort to modernize transportation, stimulate economic growth, and alleviate regional disparities. With these ambitious projects set to become operational in 2024, India stands on the brink of a transformative phase, poised to harness the potential of enhanced connectivity, expedited logistics, and amplified economic opportunities for its populace. As the nation gears up to unveil these monumental endeavours, the forthcoming year holds promise for elevating India’s infrastructural prowess on the global stage.
December inflation in India likely neared 6% due to food prices
India’s retail inflation appears to have inched up in December, largely attributed to higher food prices, signalling a consistent climb for the fourth successive month. An economist poll by Reuters forecasted that the consumer price index (CPI) gauge for inflation may have risen to 5.87% in December from 5.55% in November. This ascent, largely steered by elevated food prices, especially vegetables and household staples, keeps inflation figures within the Reserve Bank of India’s target range for now.
The survey, conducted among 56 economists, envisioned a range for December’s inflation between 5.00% and 6.40%, with nearly one-third of the respondents predicting inflation to touch or surpass 6.00%. The uptick is particularly attributed to soaring food inflation, with pulses, spices, vegetables, and fruit prices contributing significantly to the overall rise in prices, as noted by Kunal Kundu, an economist at Societe Generale.
The Reserve Bank of India had hiked the repo rate by a cumulative 250 basis points since May 2022 in an attempt to temper surging inflation. However, with inflationary pressures easing, the central bank has maintained the rates since April 2023. Another Reuters poll suggests that the repo rate is likely to remain at 6.50% at least until the second half of the current year. Economists anticipate headline inflation to persist above the medium-term target of 4.00% in the upcoming months, averaging around 4.8% in the fiscal year starting in April. Suvodeep Rakshit, a senior economist at Kotak Institutional Equities, suggests that while a sustained return of headline inflation to 4% isn’t expected over the next year, the December readings might represent the peak going forward.
This persistent inflationary trajectory, particularly driven by soaring food prices, stands as a key economic concern, impacting households’ purchasing power and budgetary constraints. The increasing cost of essential commodities like vegetables, pulses, and spices has contributed significantly to the surge in headline inflation. If the anticipated rise in December’s inflation figures materializes, it would mark a four-month high, reflecting the ongoing pressure on consumer prices.
The continuous elevation of inflation towards the upper bounds of the RBI’s target range poses a challenge for monetary policy. The central bank has adopted a cautious approach, maintaining interest rates steady since April 2023, after a series of hikes aimed at taming the rising inflation. This stability in rates comes as a balancing act, striving to manage inflationary pressures without hindering economic growth, ensuring a delicate equilibrium in India’s monetary landscape.
Amidst these inflationary trends, the RBI is anticipated to keep a vigilant eye on evolving price dynamics, seeking to anchor inflation within the targeted range. Economists are closely observing the persistent food-driven inflation to gauge its sustainability and the potential implications for monetary policy adjustments. The coming months will remain pivotal as policymakers navigate through the delicate interplay between inflation management, economic growth, and maintaining price stability.
Curbing energy use saves big $2 trillion annually for global economy
A new study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) unveiled a set of strategic business actions poised to significantly decrease global energy demand, potentially unlocking annual savings of over USD 2 trillion by the end of the decade. The report, released ahead of the WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos, highlighted that these targeted measures not only aim to curtail energy intensity but also promise to spur economic growth and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
The collaborative report, developed in partnership with PwC and backed by more than 120 global CEOs from the WEF’s International Business Council (IBC), emphasizes that implementing the right policy frameworks can trigger growth, enhance productivity, generate cost savings for companies, confer competitive advantages, and contribute to emission reduction.
This strategic initiative aligns with the commitments made during the United Nations climate change conference COP28. Governments pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency improvement over the same period. The study underscores the need for countries to accelerate efforts, urging a doubling of the pace of reducing energy intensity between 2023 and 2030, necessitating substantial changes primarily driven by the private sector.
The WEF outlined specific actionable steps that businesses can adopt to address energy demand, focusing on slashing energy intensity across buildings, industries, and transportation sectors. These measures encompass a spectrum of strategies, ranging from leveraging artificial intelligence for optimizing factory line designs to embracing energy-efficient practices, collaborating across value chains, establishing industrial clusters to promote clean energy initiatives, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, and transitioning to electrified transport systems. The emphasis lies on practical and tangible steps that industries can undertake to significantly reduce energy consumption and drive sustainable practices across sectors.
These outlined measures underscore the critical role that businesses play in spearheading transformative change towards a more energy-efficient future. Embracing these strategies not only promises substantial economic savings but also aligns with global climate objectives, contributing to the overarching goal of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
The WEF’s report serves as a call to action, highlighting the urgent need for concerted efforts from the private sector to drive tangible reductions in energy intensity. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and the adoption of sustainable practices, businesses can lead the charge in reshaping energy consumption patterns, ultimately fostering a more resilient and environmentally conscious global economy.
Electronics and services exports to contain slide in growth rate of trade
In the dynamic world of international trade, India faces a complex scenario as it endeavors to navigate global challenges and capitalize on potential opportunities. A recent report by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) sheds light on the country’s trade prospects for 2023. Despite an anticipated 2.6% decline in overall trade, the report underscores the resilience in specific sectors, such as electronic goods and services. This comprehensive analysis delves into the factors influencing India’s trade dynamics, examining both the areas of growth and the sectors grappling with challenges.
The GTRI report projects a 2.6% decline in India’s exports and imports of goods and services, reaching $1,609 billion in 2023 compared to $1,651.9 billion in the previous year. This aligns with a global trend, where the World Trade Organization (WTO) forecasts a meager 0.8% growth in the global merchandise trade volume for 2023.
Amidst the challenges, certain sectors are poised for growth in 2023. Notably, the report identifies electronic goods, particularly smartphones, as a beacon of success. Smartphone exports are expected to surge by an impressive 93% to $14 billion, marking a significant contribution to the overall rise in India’s electronics exports, which reached $26.8 billion, reflecting a 26.2% growth. This surge in smartphone exports positions India as a key player in the global electronics market.
The services sector is anticipated to exhibit resilience, with a projected 10.5% increase in services exports to $333.5 billion in 2023. This positive trajectory is noteworthy as it underscores the importance of India’s expertise in areas such as IT, software services, and other knowledge-based industries. While services imports may record flat growth at $176.4 billion, the overall services sector performance remains promising.
However, not all sectors share the optimistic outlook. Traditional sectors such as engineering goods, petroleum products, chemicals, gems and jewelry, and textiles are expected to face declines in 2023. The challenges in these sectors are attributed to weak global demand and a gradual erosion of India’s competitiveness in labor-intensive industries. GTRI Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava notes that exports of petroleum products may witness a decline of over 9% to $86 billion.
The report indicates that India’s merchandise exports may decline by 5.3% to $429.4 billion in 2023, reflecting global trends with a 5% decline, as per UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update. Importantly, gold imports are expected to increase by over 18% to $43.33 billion, suggesting a unique dynamic within the trade scenario.
An intriguing aspect highlighted in the report is the discrepancy between the depreciation of the Indian Rupee (INR) against the US Dollar ($) and its impact on export volumes. Despite a considerable depreciation of the INR from 77.5 in June 2022 to 82.1 in June 2023, the expected increase in export volumes did not materialize. Typically, a weaker domestic currency enhances a country’s export competitiveness, but India’s case presents a nuanced scenario.
In conclusion, India’s trade landscape for 2023 is a complex tapestry of challenges and opportunities. While overall trade is expected to decline, the robust performance of the electronic goods and services sectors, particularly smartphones, offers a glimmer of hope. Navigating the evolving global trade dynamics requires strategic interventions to revitalize traditional sectors and sustain growth in emerging ones. As India continues to position itself in the global marketplace, policymakers and industry stakeholders must collaborate to harness the nation’s potential and address the multifaceted challenges inherent in the international trade arena.
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