Unveiling Prosperity: How State-Level Exports Shape India's Economic Landscape

Exports vary widely across Indian states. This disparity offers rich insights, crucial for those shaping India's trade policies. Below, I present a clear-eyed look at the export performance from different states of India, drawing on official data from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) for the financial year 2023. The figure below shows the numbers (USD millions), disaggregated at the state-level.

Let's move over quickly to something that I find more interesting. See the figure below which captures GDP/capita Vs Exports/capita for the states: 

GDP and exports per head walk together, the figure tells us that much. States with bigger exports per person often show fatter wallets per capita. Exports drive not just the big national machine but also the local carts and wagons. Good roads, wise policies, and new ideas—these are the seeds for export growth in our backyards. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; a dance together isn’t always a tango of cause and effect. Still, you can't ignore the tune. Exports could lift states, polish shoes, and put more dinners on the table. Let's remember that next time we’re drawing up the blueprints.

Going further, the next plot is interesting too. 

Tracks and trade go hand in hand. Ask the Yankees. The above plot shows that states with sprawling railroads often send more goods out into the world. It's a nod to the mighty role of iron paths in trade's blood flow. Yet, let's not be railroaded into thinking tracks are the whole journey. Take Uttar Pradesh—tracks for miles, but the exports don't quite catch up, a gentle nudge that it takes more than steel rails to race ahead in exports. It's a bigger game. Good tracks must shake hands with sharp policies and open gates. The track is laid; with Yogi ji paving the way for the goods laden trains to roll.

Finally, I come to the index developed by NITI Aayog - The Export Performance Index (EPI).

The EPI 2022 tells it straight: States with sharp policies and strong infrastructures lead in exports. The figure doesn't lie; these states aren't just lucky. They've worked for it, setting up the right conditions for trade to thrive.

Coastal states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat have the edge of the sea, but they didn't just sit back and enjoy the view. They used it, crafting policies and building ports that turned their shores into gateways of global trade. This isn't about geography; it's about using what you have to the fullest.

For India to keep rising, every state has to pull its weight, adding their strength to the country's export engine. Exports aren't just a piece of the economy; they're the heart of our economic future. And there's a lot to learn from those states that do well.


1. Figures: Python/Plotly. See my github page to reproduce. 

2. Data: a) Trade data from DGCIS - Their amazing UI inspires you to work long/hard. I have kept the excel sheet on the git if you want a shortcut to the data used. b) SGDP data from RBI c) Population data (projected one for 2023) from RGI