External Debt

India's external debt stands at USD 558.5 billion by end-Mar'20.

Published quarterly by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Updated till January-March 2019 (Published on July 01, 2020).

External Debt-Annual

Note: The years in the graph represent the fiscal year, for instance, the year 2009 represents the period Apr'09-Mar'10.

Brief Overview

The RBI and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) jointly release the external debt stock position of India. The Reserve Bank of India releases India's external debt statistics for the quarters ending March and June with a lag of one quarter and those for the quarters ending September and December by the finance ministry.

External debt, otherwise known as foreign debt, is the component of total debt held by creditors of the foreign nations. Debt can be in the form of money owed to banks (Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Bank for Restructuring and Development (IBRD))outside the domestic nation or borrowings from the global financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The external debt in India is classified as long-term debt and short-term debt. The long-term debt consists of external commercial borrowings, borrowings from global financial institutions like IMF(Multilateral Debt), borrowings from private banks (Bilateral Debt), trade credit, NRI deposits, etc. On the other hand, short-term debt comprises of FII investments in government T-bills, investment in T-bills by foreign central banks, external debt liabilities of commercial banks and RBI.

External debt of the country continues to be dominated by long-term borrowings. India continues to be among the less vulnerable nations with its external debt indicators, comparing well with other indebted developing countries. Among BRICS economies, India is in the fourth position after China, Brazil, and Russia regarding the total debt stock and the third position regarding the share of short-term debt to total debt. The prudent external debt policy pursued by the government has helped in maintaining foreign debt within manageable limits.

A cross-country comparison based on International Debt Statistics 2017 of the World Bank shows that the ratio of India’s external debt stock to gross national income (GNI) at 23.4% was the fifth lowest. Regarding the cover provided by foreign exchange reserves to external debt, India’s position was sixth highest at 69.7% in 2015.

India's External Debt Position as on end-March 2020 (in USD Billion)

1 Total  External Debt

1.1 Long-term Debt 451.7
1.1.1 Multilateral Debt 60 Government borrowing 48.2 Concessional Loans 22.2 IDA Loans 21.7
1.1.2 Bilateral Debt 27.2
1.1.3 Loans from IMF 5.4
1.1.4 Trade Credit 7.2
1.1.5 Commercial Borrowings 220.3 Commercial Bank Loans 110.1 Securitized Borrowings (incl.IDBs and FCCBs) 110
1.1.6 NRI Deposits 130.6 
1.1.7 Rupee Debt 1
1.2 Short-term Debt 106.9 
1.2.1 Short-term Trade Credit 101.4

Note: Figures may not add up due to the omission of some sub-categories.

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Next Release Date: To be decided.