India Could Lose 10 Million Jobs by March

Federation of Indian Export Organizations points to recession in North America and Europe, which account for 37% of India's merchandise exports, as root cause of potential job losses.

At least 10 million Indians will lose their jobs by March as the economic slowdown in North America and Europe hits India's exports, A. Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) predicted on Jan. 6.

"I can safely say that negative growth trends will continue in December and in the next couple of months... I hope we will end the fiscal year (to March 31) with exports of about $175-180 billion" said Sakthivel, lower than New Delhi's target of $200 billion for 2008-2009.

The gloomy forecast comes despite two economic stimulus packages unveiled by the Indian government to boost growth in Asia's third-largest economy.

India's exports, which totalled almost $160 billion last year, account for about 20% of gross domestic product and the sector employs 150 million people, according to FIEO.

It cited recession in North America and Europe, which account for 37% of India's merchandise exports, as responsible for job losses in India.

Sakthivel said he did not see any positive trends for the export sector before the last quarter of 2009 "though a complete U-turn may take a little longer."

India has forecast growth of 7% for the year to March 2009 but economists say it could be as low as 6.8% this year and 5.5% the following year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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