Until the liberalisation of 1991, India was largely and intentionally isolated from world markets, to protect its economy and to achieve self-reliance. Foreign trade was subject to import tariffs, export taxes and quantitative restrictions, while foreign direct investment (FDI) was restricted by upper-limit equity participation, restrictions on technology transfer, export obligations and government approvals; these approvals were needed for nearly 60% of new FDI in the industrial sector. The restrictions ensured that FDI averaged only around $200 million annually between 1985 and 1991; a large percentage of the capital flows consisted of foreign aid, commercial borrowing and deposits of non-resident Indians. India's exports were stagnant for the first 15 years after independence, due to general neglect of trade policy by the government of that period; imports in the same period, with early industrialisation, consisted predominantly of machinery, raw materials and consumer goods. Since liberalisation, the value of India's international trade has increased sharply, with the contribution of total trade in goods and services to the GDP rising from 16% in 1990–91 to 47% in 2009–10. Foreign trade accounted for 48.8% of India's GDP in 2015. Globally, India accounts for 1.44% of exports and 2.12% of imports for merchandise trade and 3.34% of exports and 3.31% of imports for commercial services trade. India's major trading partners are the European Union, China, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. In 2006–07, major export commodities included engineering goods, petroleum products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles and garments, agricultural products, iron ore and other minerals. Major import commodities included crude oil and related products, machinery, electronic goods, gold and silver. In November 2010, exports increased 22.3% year-on-year to ₹850.63 billion (US$12 billion), while imports were up 7.5% at ₹1,251.33 billion (US$17 billion). The trade deficit for the same month dropped from ₹468.65 billion (US$6.5 billion) in 2009 to ₹400.7 billion (US$5.6 billion) in 2010.
Several economic historians have argued that real wage decline occurred in the early 19th century, or possibly beginning in the very late 18th century, largely as a result of British imperialism. Economic historian Prasannan Parthasarathi presented earnings data which showed real wages and living standards in 18th century Bengal and Mysore being higher than in Britain, which in turn had the highest living standards in Europe. Mysore's average per-capita income was five times higher than subsistence level, i.e. five times higher than $400 (1990 international dollars), or $2,000 per capita. In comparison, the highest national per-capita incomes in 1820 were $1,838 for the Netherlands and $1,706 for Britain. It has also been argued that India went through a period of deindustrialization in the latter half of the 18th century as an indirect outcome of the collapse of the Mughal Empire.
Since independence, India's balance of payments on its current account has been negative. Since economic liberalisation in the 1990s, precipitated by a balance-of-payment crisis, India's exports rose consistently, covering 80.3% of its imports in 2002–03, up from 66.2% in 1990–91. However, the global economic slump followed by a general deceleration in world trade saw the exports as a percentage of imports drop to 61.4% in 2008–09. India's growing oil import bill is seen as the main driver behind the large current account deficit, which rose to $118.7 billion, or 11.11% of GDP, in 2008–09. Between January and October 2010, India imported $82.1 billion worth of crude oil. The Indian economy has run a trade deficit every year from 2002 to 2012, with a merchandise trade deficit of US$189 billion in 2011–12. Its trade with China has the largest deficit, about $31 billion in 2013.
India's gross national income per capita had experienced high growth rates since 2002. It tripled from ₹19,040 in 2002–03 to ₹53,331 in 2010–11, averaging 13.7% growth each of these eight years, with peak growth of 15.6% in 2010–11. However growth in the inflation-adjusted per-capita income of the nation slowed to 5.6% in 2010–11, down from 6.4% in the previous year. These consumption levels are on an individual basis. The average family income in India was $6,671 per household in 2011.
In focusing on your wealth management goals, investment income is obviously critical but you might fund your goals from wider sources of income. A typical long-term portfolio might produce about half its return as income and the other half as capital growth, though in times of duress the capital growth component wanes. In this low-interest rate climate, some sources of income have become quite expensive and may prove disappointing against your spending needs. But by tax efficiently and sustainably drawing income from wider sources, you might meet your goals while more prudently balancing risk against reward.