Ben Oostdam story # 166


(FIG.1 - please click to enlarge)
Throughout ages, decades and even years the proportions of exports from India have changed: the above graph gives the approximate proportions for the second quarter of 2005.
Five out of 17 categories make up three quarters of the total exports amounting to 21,327.39 "units"
(presumably some 21 billion US Dollars, unless the units are in crores (10 million) of Rupiahs which at the applicable exchange rate of 1 US$=43.6046 would correspond to $ 4.891 billion;
the exact value is not that important since we are looking at proportions)
Engineering goods is the highest category, almost one fifth of the total exports. I would venture to say that this has probably become so in the last decade. By contrast, category number 2, gems and jewelry, has been near the top for hundreds of years. Category 3, chemicals and category 5, oil, have risen to the top in recent years, while category 4, textiles, probably was closer to the top a decade or so ago and is on its way down.
Note that the "default" group "OTHER," roughly one quarter of the total, comprises some 12 categories, including minerals and agricultural products. These will be displayed in some detail in FIG.2 and discussed on the next page.

(FIG.2 - please click to enlarge)

FIG 2 should be read in conjunction with FIG 1 since items listed are among the 12 categories comprised under "OTHER". Quite possibly, these categories themselves are subject to change depending on whether one is a "lumper" or "Splitter". For example, each of the following five categories totals less than one percent of the total exports (unless affected by seasonal changes): plantation (coffee and tea), handicrafts, carpets, cotton raw and waste, and sportsgoods. "Plantation" appears almost a colonial remnant and was indubitably far more important some decades or even centuries ago, while "Sportsgoods" is bound to be an up and jumping item.
I have marked some items with a small black square including "spices" which once were the main attraction of "the Indies", and "marine products" which I feel are disappointingly low - but that may be on account of a bias being an oceanographer;o]
I would venture to predict that "Electronics" will soon merit its own category.

In conclusion, this article or story was written to reconcile the situation in the year 1978 when I made my tour of the west coast of India well before the advent of the World Wide Web (about 1994, I think) and this year of the World Cup, 2006, when I finally get around to putting my adventures on my website. One should remember, or emphasize, that some "things" have changed drastically in the last thirty years - while others have a quality of timelesness. To me, it seems that Asia and Africa show these contrasts even more than the other continents. For example, the Chinese cross-nets in Cochin have lasted hundreds of years and with some financial aid and more foresight than that displayed by the Dutch with respect to their VOC "monuments' may last tens or hundreds of years more.
By good luck, serendipity or whatever, I found the following graph (FIG.3) which nicely covers the "lapsed" period of time and makes one of my points:

Source of FIG.3

BLO fecit 20060617 - stories
From 1978 to 2006, India increased its exports by a factor of 19.12/4.19, or 4.56x (=456%). [By contrast, China started out at about the same level relative to its GDP and achieved 32.96/4.46, or 7.39x (739%) growth, but that is another story.]
In summary, not only did the quality or types of exports change with time, but also the quantity. Quite likely, the growth of exports of other countries will mirror the growth of imports by the USA, i.e. exponential :.]