New data shows India’s trade deficit has reduced in January. The figure for the month stood at $8 billion. That’s on an export growth of 32.4% to $20.6 billion, versus an import growth of 13.1% to $28.6 billion. Oil imports were slightly lower in January than in the same month last year. But the government has warned the recent spike in oil prices could mean a 30% increase in India’s oil import bill.
In other news, both the UPA and opposition parties are all set to face their biggest test this year so far. On Tuesday the Election Commission has announced dates for assembly polls in four states and Puducherry. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will vote on just one day, 13 April. Assam will have a two-phase election on 4 and 11 Aril. And Bengal will go to polls in six phases that start on the 18 April and end on 10 May. All counting is going to be held simultaneously on 13 May, just three days after polls close in Bengal.