Jun 26 2009

Jewel in the Crown

Published by under Global Economy

“Civilizations have arisen in other parts of the world.  In ancient and modern times, wonderful ideas have been carried forward from one race to another…But mark you, my friends, it has been always with the blast of war trumpets and the march of embattled cohorts…This, many other nations have taught; but India for thousands of years peacefully existed.  Here activity prevailed when even Greece did not exist…We, of all nations of the world, have never been a conquering race, and that blessing is on our head, and therefore we live…” – Swami Vivekananda

 

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to New Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi (near the cape) on business.  India is a land of such incredible social diversity and cultural complexity.  If you have been there, you know that words alone cannot describe the experience.

 

Improvement opportunities abound and the quality of life for millions is quite dreadful, but there are some good things to report as well.  For one, India’s GDP is still one of the fastest growing at ~6.5%.  Many Indians were expecting to surpass China this year and although this now seems unlikely, being a close second is nothing to sneeze at.  According to the people I spoke with, they haven’t noticed much of a slowdown so far.  The banks are still lending, capital and construction projects are not being cancelled or delayed, and domestic flights are at capacity.  According to EconomyWatch, the Indian government has earmarked 23.8 trillion rupees (US $560 billion) for infrastructure upgrades.  It expects to fund 70% of the project costs with the other 30% being supplied by the private sector.  Ports, airports, roads and railways are all seen as vital for the Indian economy and have been targeted for investment.

 

I must admit, I’m not ready to pack up and move there yet, but I do look forward to witnessing India’s progress over the next ten to twenty years.  I suspect if they can somehow figure out a way to control the population and improve the standard of living for all, India could find itself in a position of global significance.

 

 

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