Exports of half of the sectors out of the 30 closely monitored by the Commerce Ministry were in the negative zone in December due to a fall in global prices and demand.
Outbound shipments of as many as 15 key sectors, including petroleum, engineering and leather, dipped last month, according to the ministry data.
Exporters’ body FIEO said that although the pace of fall has moderated in December, the government should take steps in the Budget to boost the shipments.
India’s exports declined about 15 per cent in December to $22.2 billion, pushing up the trade deficit to $11.66 billion, highest in the last four months.
In November, it declined by 24.43 per cent.
The continuous decline in exports is expected to impact jobs and put pressure on the current account deficit.
“The government should address the inverted duty structure in many sectors in the Budget besides exempting exports from service tax and create a export development fund,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations President S C Ralhan said.
During the month, top two sectors — engineering and petroleum products — contracted 15.68 per cent and 47.69 per cent, respectively in December 2015.
Gems and Jewellery exports too shrank by about 7.75 per cent to $2.46 billion in the last month.
These three sectors make up about 55 per cent of the country’s total exports in 2014-15, when it stood at $310.5 billion.
Agri-products, which constitute over 10 per cent of the country’s total shipments, too recorded a negative growth during the month under review.
Overall, seven out of 13 main agriculture products slipped into negative territory.
Exports of rice, cashew and oil meals fell 35.58 per cent, 15.38 per cent and 83 per cent, respectively.
Other products that have reported a negative growth include cereals, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables, marine products and iron ore.
Decline in these exports has been instrumental in dragging down India’s overall merchandise exports. Due to continuous dip, the total merchandise shipments are expected to reach a figure of $270 billion in 2015-16.
India has aimed at taking exports of goods and services to $900 billion by 2020 and raising the country’s share in world exports to 3.5 per cent from 2 per cent.
The exports in the past four financial years have been hovering at around $300 billion.
On the other hand, exports of pharmaceuticals, textiles, plastic, carpet, chemicals, tea and coffee have recorded positive growth in December 2015.