As many as 1.5 million people could end up losing their jobs, as exports contracted for the third successive month plunging by 1.1 per cent in December amid the worst slowdown in the world economy in the last 80 years.
“If these projections continue... it’s quite likely that you can expect another five lakh losses before March 31,” commerce secretary G.K. Pillai told television channel NDTV. About 1 million jobs have already been lost since August.
Exports for the month of December stood at $12.69 billion, latest trade data released on Monday showed. It had declined by 12.1 per cent and 9.9 per cent in October and November, respectively.
Exporters employ about 150 million people in India and the sector is India’s biggest provider of jobs after agriculture.
Nervous exporters, smarting under severe earnings erosions last year, are struggling to ink new contracts as demand shrinks amid growing bankruptcies in the US, India’s largest export market.
In recent months the government has taken a slew of fiscal measures, including sharp cuts in excise duties and increased plan spending, to help the economy tide over a recession in the world’s developed countries.
Exports for January, the official data for which will come in early next month, is expected to fall further as orders from the US and European Union have shown no signs of picking up. This could hurt jobs further.