India's exports of engineering goods grew in the first quarter of this fiscal year over the same period last year, but the rate of growth was slower than in the corresponding period, new industry figures show.
The category, which runs the gamut from iron and steel to computer software, is an important segment of the country's overseas sales. Exports rose 33 percent in the April-June quarter to US$235 million (6 billion rupees) from 4.5 billion rupees in the same period last year.The 33 percent growth, however, was below the 36 percent recorded in 1990 over 1989 during corresponding months.
Capital goods topped the engineering basket with exports valued at 2.48 billion rupees, up 46 percent from the 1.7 billion of the previous year's first quarter. Consumer items came next with exports of 1.94 billion rupees, up 14.7 percent.
The Engineering Export Promotion Council, which released the figures Tuesday, did not give a country-by-country breakdown. The United States is among the largest single markets, with sales in last year's first quarter worth 1.9 billion rupees.
The council has fixed a target of 50 billion rupees worth of exports during fiscal 1991-92. The chief items in this basket are machinery, transport equipment, metal manufactures, electronic goods and computer software.
Commerce Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram last week raised the rate of exim scrip to 40 percent from 30 percent for 22 categories of engineering products to spur their exports. This scrip entitles an exporter to retain a specified percentage of foreign exchange for imports or sell it at a premium.
Engineering goods have recorded impressive growth in the past few years.
In 1990-91, they earned 39 billion rupees, or nearly 12 percent of total exports.
Sales slowed in fiscal 1990-91 thanks to tight import and fiscal curbs here, recession abroad and the Persian Gulf crisis.
Regional data for 1989-90 show 28 percent of such exports directed to Europe, 21 percent to Asia and 11 percent to the United States. U.S.-bound sales during that fiscal year were worth 2.75 billion rupees.