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India: What Makes it Unique?
The latest GDP figures of 7.3% year-over-year in India indicate growth is outpacing that of China, and affirms its spot as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. With its vast population and the rapid changes taking place, some liken today’s India to China 20 years ago. We think this comparison is too shallow and does not tell the entire story. India’s evolution has been very different from the rest of the developing world. Here are five aspects unique to the Indian economy.
Disruptive Innovations in Indian Politics
The sweeping victories for Indias pro-business opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in recent state elections were largely expected. But more stunning, to say the least, were unexpectedly strong gains in Delhi by a nascent, novice and underfunded political party known as the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Mans Party.
Protests of the Common Man
At times, some recent protests have been criticized for a lack of organization and demands that may seem irrational such as the death penalty for juvenile suspects of serious crimes. But for all their faults, Indias recent demonstrations are an essential step toward a more participative democracy, and may help to spur an overhaul of the countrys judicial and administrative machinery that I believe has not kept pace with its economic development.
India: Good Growth, Bad Growth
It goes without saying that areas of growth attract investors. But in a blind chase for growth, it is easy to forget that only growth accompanied by economic profits creates value. This month Sunil Asnani takes a look at some of the once-celebrated, top-down investment ideas that did not live up to expectations, comparing them to some less exciting ideas that actually did deliver.
India's Demographic Dividends
Fortunately, Indias vast population of 1.21 billion, considered a time bomb not long ago, is increasingly being viewed as a positive. While its population has grown by roughly 18% over the past decade, the percentage of its children has actually fallen during this same period.looking to base manufacturing operations in other countries.India would do well to realize that this period of demographic shift is not merely a stroke of luck, but a window of opportunity. For growth to be sustainable requires some reforms in the way people live and work.
Foreign Investments in India
Foreign investment plays a significant role in India?s economic growth, which has historically been constrained by supply factors, and most notably, the availability of capital. Domestic savings in India have risen, but high government deficits still don?t leave enough for the private sector. The result has been a vicious cycle in which the high cost of capital prevents many businesses from flourishing, which further limits India?s capacity for capital formation. Let us examine the ways in which India can use foreign capital to emerge from this low-growth equilibrium.
India's Inflation Worries
While developed nations are now craving a bit of inflation, emerging markets such as India regard inflation as their formidable enemy. Ironically, a small dose of inflation can actually indicate unmet demand that could incentivize production and catalyze economic growth in one situation, while a little excess inflation can erode purchasing power in another. In India?s case, where the majority of its vast middle class is skewed toward the poverty line, high and sustained rates of inflation can dampen real growth and widen economic disparity.
Promoting Peace Within India
The recent verdict by an Indian high court over an age-old religious dispute has brought some of the challenges associated with investing in India back into the limelight. India's legal and political legacy systems do impose delays in resolving such conflicts, but the country is making some notable progress on clearing up some of these issues.
Postcard from India: Delhi Prepares for the Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games, which will be hosted this year in Delhi, offers India a distinctive brand building opportunity. The preparations for the games have surely ramped up Delhi's severely strained infrastructure. The city has made significant progress towards construction of an intra-city train network and an international airport terminal. Preparations have also given employment to hundreds of thousands of construction workers, and will likely prove positive for the country's tourism. As an offshoot, it might also inspire more investment in developing India's sporting talent.
India's Infrastructure Constraints
With India?s higher economic growth rates, its social and physical infrastructure is becoming increasingly strained. Even though India has years of catching up to do on infrastructure investment, there have been some early signs that the government is awakening to the problem and starting to take action. One positive response to bureaucratic shortcomings has been the emergence of a new model of public-private partnership that substantially shifts infrastructure-related financial, operational and technical responsibilities to the private sector.
India's Focus on Investor Protection
India?s financial sector watchdogs have demonstrated their independence time and again. For example, the country?s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, was one of the few central banks that chose to break from prevailing global loose monetary policies. India?s other regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which is equivalent to the Securities and Exchange Commission in United States, has also come a long way in asserting itself. Formed in 1992, SEBI has been making systemic reforms aimed at better corporate governance, deeper capital markets and more satisfied investors.
Another Step Toward Gender Equality in India
India's upper parliamentary house recently passed an historic bill that would reserve one third of its legislative seats for women. Women currently account for one tenth of India's members of parliament. The passing of this contentious bill is an early step in the process of amending the country's constitution. Even though India's constitution is quite progressive when it comes to gender issues, Indian women still face inequality in many areas. Placing more women at the top of the political food chain could be instrumental in furthering equality in other aspects of Indian society.
Assessing India and China
Investors often compare India and China. Both countries have been liberalizing their economies for quite some time, and feature entrepreneurial private sectors riding the current waves of growth. While China promises higher but arguably more volatile growth, India seems to be on a relatively more moderate and sustainable growth path. Because the typical U.S. investor is probably growth-starved, this tilts the argument in favor of China. Matthews Asia also includes responses from China and India investment specialists who participated in a roundtable this month.
13 results found.