The country's exports jumped by 58.23 per cent to $34 billion in March as key sectors such as engineering, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals recorded healthy growth rate during the month, according to the Commerce Ministry's provisional data.
Exports during April-March 2020-21, however, dipped by 7.4 per cent to $290.18 billion compared to $313.36 billion in 2019-20, the data showed.
Imports during 2020-21 contracted by 18 per cent to $388.92 billion compared to $474.71 billion during 2019-20.
In March 2020, the exports stood at $21.49 billion, which was a decline of about 34 per cent over March 2019 due to global slowdown induced by the Covid-19 crisis.
“India's merchandise exports in March 2021 were $34.0 billion as compared to $21.49 billion in March 2020, an increase of 58.23 per cent," the ministry said in a statement.
It said that "first time ever in a month", the exports crossed $34 billion.
Imports too rose by 52.89 per cent to $48.12 billion as against $31.47 billion in March 2020.
The trade deficit during the month widened to $14.12 billion as against $9.98 billion in March 2020.
In March, oil imports grew by 1.22 per cent to $10.17 billion.
During 2020-21, oil imports dipped by 37 per cent to $82.25 billion.
Non-oil imports in March were up by 777.12 per cent to $$37.95 billion.
During the full fiscal, the imports contracted by 10.89 per cent to $306.67 billion.
Gold imports jumped to $7.17 billion during the month under review.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet said: "Make in India, Make for the World: Merchandise exports in March 2021 grew by 58 per cent year-on-year to $34 billion, the highest ever in Indian history.
“PM @NarendraModi ji's policies have propelled Indian economy to historic new heights, despite the pandemic."
Federation of Indian Exports Organisations (FIEO) director general Ajay Sahai said that despite issues related with container shortage and movement of ships Suez Canal, the exports have crossed $290 billion.
"It is extremely good growth looking into COVID-19 challenges," he said.
Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters