ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Keeping Exports Up.

Editorial from Volume XI, No 43, September 19, 1959.

Ever since we convinced ourselves that the rest of the world would not allow India’s develop-ment plans to fail for lack of foreign exchange, we seem not to bother needlessly about such things as an adverse balance of trade. We are not much concerned about it since an import surplus can after all be explained quite easily. We need it because we are developing so fast; and we are not apologetic about it because our development is so necessary for strengthening democracy, relieving the strain on capital-abundant countries and so forth. In fact we are beginning to feel so righteous about the imbal-ance in our trade that we deem it to be a fa-vour India is doing to the rest of the world. Having persuaded ourselves thus, we find it difficult to believe that others might consider our attitude in this matter somewhat supercili-ous. It is, of course, a truism that during the period of development an underdeveloped country such as ours will draw from the world market more than it supplies abroad. But it is not necessary for that reason to take the posi-tion that the rest of the world is obliged to pro-vide the difference as long as the under-devel-oped country chooses to need it. An import surplus is after all a debt owed to countries outside; and it is always open to the creditors to cry halt at some point. This means that as borrowers in one sense or another we ought deliberately to prepare ourselves to meet a sit-uation where we may not be able to make large drafts on the resources of other countries. In-deed we ought to be looking forward to the day when we shall be in a position to contrib-ute to the resources that can be drawn upon by another country for its development. All this may seem somewhat sanctimoni-ous in the light of the ostensible efforts direct-ed towards export promotion. Though we have increased manifold our effort to get more dollars, roubles, marks and so forth for the Second and Third Five-Year Plans, we have continued to talk about export promo-tion as the right and proper means of solving the problem of increasing imports. But as we go along, all this talk about more, and more diversified, exports rings hollow.

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