Market overview

India has extended its nationwide lockdown until 31 May. The government has relaxed some restrictions, subject to guidelines and conditions being met. These include social distancing, mandatory masks, staggered business hours and a curfew from 7:00pm to 7:00am, except for emergency or essential services.

Federal states have been given the responsibility to define and manage activities within zones classified as red, orange or green, based on their risk profile and number of COVID-19 cases. Restrictions are most stringent in red zones, and are progressively eased in orange and green zones.

In containment zones with high rates of infection, a full lockdown is still in place with no activities permitted other than essential and medical services. These zones are sealed and monitored by health authorities.

Economic activities have resumed across the country. While these vary between states, most have re-opened shops, markets, app-based cab services and inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses. Malls, cinemas, restaurants, schools and colleges continue to be off-limits across India.

Resources for India

Export support
Last updated: 13 May 2020
COVID-19 update – India's e-commerce landscape, 14 May 2020

Vivek Singhal, Associate Director at Flipkart, shares his insights on current dynamics shaping the e-commerce landscape & consumer behaviour in India.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 6 May 2020
COVID-19 update – pharma in India, 7 May 2020

NZTE Trade Commissioner Ralph Hays interviews Arshad Kokardekar, Regional Sales Manager at DFE Pharma in India.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 29 Apr 2020
Podcast: COVID-19 update - dairy in India, 30 April 2020

NZTE Trade Commissioner Ralph Hays talks to Ishmeet Singh, CEO of Fonterra Future Dairy...

Watch now

Economy and trade

According to the US investment management firm Bernstein, the Indian economy is expected to contract by around 7% over 2020-2021. Goldman Sachs has also released a forecast that predicts the economy will shrink by around 5% in the financial year of 2021. Nonetheless, most analysts agree that the economic stimulus package and reforms announced by the Indian government will help economic growth over the medium term.

The Indian Ministry of Commerce also released data which shows that India's exports of merchandise have dropped by 60% and imports by approximately 59%, resulting in a trade deficit of US$6.8 billion. Out of thirty major export items from India, only iron ore and pharmaceuticals recorded a growth in April 2020, while a negative growth was registered for all other major import items.

Government support

India's Prime Minister has announced an economic stimulus package of Rs 20 trillion to jump-start the Indian economy. The package is equivalent to 10% of India's GDP and includes the earlier monetary stimulus announced by the Reserve Bank of India.

The focus of the package will be on reforms related to land, labour, liquidity and laws. It aims to support all of India's key sectors as well as micro, small and medium enterprises, labourers, the middle class and pensioners.

India's strategy for economic revival will centre around "self-reliance" by strengthening local manufacturing, building infrastructure and ensuring robust supply chains. The Government aims to ramp up domestic demand, invest in technology-based delivery systems and tap into India's young demography. On 13 May, details on the first phase of the economic stimulus package was released by India’s Finance Minister.

In April, the Reserve Bank of India announced a Rs I trillion (NZ$22 billion) funding support to ensure solvency of businesses and small non-bank lenders during the extended lockdown period by making funds available to non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The support also includes a refinance facility to banks for lending to NBFCs. The RBI has also announced a Rs 500 billion (NZ$111 million) liquidity facility to ease pressure on mutual funds.

Supply chain, freight and logistics

Transport of essential goods, freight and interstate movement of goods is now open across India. International cargo flights are operational with air freight arriving from a number of international destinations. Domestic cargo flights are also operational for movement of medical and essential supplies.

India's major seaports that handle 90% of India's total agricultural and related product imports continue to face congestion and a backlog due to shortage of truckers, port workers and customs officials. There has been significant improvement with ports operating round the clock, but the backlog may take weeks to clear. At Kolkata Port, for instance, 3,000 containers destined for Nepal are blocked due to reduced truck movement. With help from the Railway Ministry, authorities at major ports are currently working to move containers through special container trains.

Most shipping lines and related firms continue to face manpower shortages at ports due to the ongoing lockdown.

Daily movement of trucks has improved with new guidelines being issued by the government. Shortage of truckers continues to be a problem and the situation may not ease for a few weeks. Road transport accounts for about 60% of freight traffic in India and 87% of its passenger traffic, according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.


Domestic flights in India have resumed as of 25 May. Nearly 40,000 passengers wearing protective gear travelled by air on day one, across 410 flights with an average passenger load of 55 percent.

India’s second phase of repatriation flights is ongoing, having commenced on 16 May with a total of 149 flights planned to bring back Indian nationals from 31 countries.

Tradeshow and event information

Numerous international tradeshows and events have been postponed or cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make sure you proactively check with organisers for any tradeshow or event you're scheduled to attend – conditions and regulations are changing rapidly overseas, and events may be postponed or cancelled at short notice.

Below is the status of major Indian tradeshows and events that NZTE's teams are aware of.

If you have questions about an event not listed here, please contact the organisers in the first instance or get in touch with NZTE for further advice.

  • Chem Spec India, 16 – 17 April, Mumbai – postponed to 19 – 20 August 2020.

  • 6th Smart Cities India Expo, 7 – 9 July, Delhi –postponed to 20 – 22 October 2020.

  • Pharma Tech Expo, 7 – 9 August 2020, Gandhinagar – status unknown

  • Agritech & Dairytech India, 18 – 20 August 2020, Bangalore – status unknown

  • Annapoorna ANUFOOD India, 23 – 25 September 2020, Mumbai

  • Acetech, 22 – 25 October 2020, Mumbai

  • Food Ingredients & Health Ingredients India, 22 – 24 October 2020, Mumbai

  • CII Agrotech, 5 – 8 December 2020, Chandigarh

  • Acetech, 17 – 20 December 2020, Delhi

Sector insights

As is to be expected, numerous sectors have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you'll find information on any COVID-19 effects across important sectors and industries in India.


According to the credit rating agency ICRA, the Indian aviation industry will require additional funding of between US$4.3 and $4.6 billion over the financial years 2021-2023 to recover financially to pre-pandemic levels.

To date, the Indian government has not offered a rescue or relief package to the aviation, hospitality, travel or tourism industries. Several requests for assistance and support have been made to the government.

Domestic scheduled flights within India resumed on 25 May. Passengers must wear face masks and crew are required to be in full protective suits. Passengers must also declare their health status in advance of flying. Meals will not be served onboard, except for those who require it on medical grounds.

India's aviation ministry has allowed the resumption of domestic air travel by private or charter flights, as well as flights by other non-scheduled and private operators, such as helicopters and microlight aircraft. The ministry has issued guidelines for these flights, and airfares set for scheduled airlines will not apply to private and charter flights.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.