India, Asia's third largest economy, closed the financial year 2014-15 ended 31 March 2015 with record trade deficit of an estimated $137.01 billion, against a deficit of $135.80 billion during April-March 2013-14.
The country also saw record monthly trade deficit of $11.79 billion in March 2015, the highest in four months, as exports continued to fall.
The rising trade deficit despite plunging global oil prices underscore risks for growth prospects in India.
Exports from the country (including re-exports) during March2015 stood at $23.95 billion (Rs149,574.53 crore), which was 21.06 per cent lower in dollar terms and 19.20 per cent lower in rupee terms compared to exports valued at $30.34 billion (Rs185,122.83 crore) during March 2014.
Exports for the period April-March 2014-15 stood at $310.53 billion (Rs1,897,025.85 crore) against $314.42 billion (Rs1,905,011.08 crore) registering a negative growth of (-)1.23 per cent in dollar terms and growth of (-)0.42 per cent in rupee terms year-on-year.
The country's imports during March 2015 were valued at $35.74 billion (Rs223,224.83 crore), which was 13.44 per cent lower in dollar terms and 11.40 per cent lower in rupee terms compared to of imports valued at $41.29 billion (Rs251,953.73 crore) in March 2014.
Cumulative value of imports for the period April-March 2014-15 stood at $447.55 billion (Rs2,734,049.06 crore) against $450.21 billion (Rs2,715,433.89 crore) in April-March 2013-14, registering a negative growth of (-)0.59 per cent in dollar terms and a growth of 0.69 per cent in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Oil imports during March 2015 were valued at $7.41 billion, which was 52.68 per cent lower than oil imports valued at $15.67 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Oil imports during April-March 2014-15 were valued at $138.26 billion, which was 16.09 per cent lower than the oil imports of $164.77 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during March 2015 were estimated at $28.33 billion which was 10.55 per cent higher than non-oil imports of $25.63 billion in March 2014.
Non-oil imports during April-March, 2014-15 were valued at $309.29 billion, which was 8.35 per cent higher than the level of such imports valued at $285.44 billion in April-March 2013-14.
The falling demand for India's merchandise exports could undermine Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign to boost export-oriented investment.
Europe's share in India's merchandise exports fell more than 2 percentage points to 18.1 per cent in the 11 months to February, to stand at $51.6 billion, while other regions showed growth in sales, commerce ministry data showed.
The commerce ministry expects non-oil imports to pick up this year, due to recovery in the manufacturing sector. But trade deficit in financial year 2015-16 could still be around $90 billion to $100 billion, according to the ministry.