2012 not a year that govt will like to remember: Anand Sharma

"This is not a choice, or an option or a wish; it is absolutely an imperative and a priority for us because it has a social dimension," Sharma said.

Continuing its downward spiral for the fifth month in a row, exports contracted by 10.8 per cent in September to USD 23.69 billion, pushing the trade gap to a 16-month high of USD 18 billion.

However, imports grew by at a low pace of only 5 per cent after four months of decline to USD 41.77 billion from USD 39.75 billion a year ago.

For the cumulative April-September period, exports dipped by 6.79 per cent to USD 143.6 billion from USD 154.1 billion in the same period last year. Imports during the first half contracted by 4.36 per cent to USD 232.92 billion.

Trade deficit during the period stood at USD 89.25 billion from USD 89.39 billion in April-September 2011. Oil imports in September rose 30.74 per cent to USD 14.09 billion from USD 10.77 billion a year ago

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