By Staff writer
Economic growth will again be massive next year, but India needs to spend its money wisely
If you’re an international businessman, it’s hard to find anywhere else in the world that is projected to post stronger economic growth than India in 2011.
Qatar aside, the Gulf countries will see growth of less than five percent in most cases, but the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has predicted that the Asian tiger will grow by 9.1 percent during the next fiscal year on the back of a strong rebound in the agricultural sector.
India’s biggest regional competitor is China, which the OECD says will see GDP growth of 9.7 percent growth in 2011. However, other agencies predict the race between the two powerhouses will be closer. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) says that India’s 8.2 percent growth next year will just be pipped by China’s 8.4 percent.
But economic growth isn’t everything, and there’s no doubt that India Inc has a lot of work to do if it is to translate turnover into higher living standards for its 1.2bn plus population.
Top of the list is infrastructure. Last week, the government announced a $2bn revamp of Mumbai’s battered old international airport, a drop in the ocean in the apparent $500bn the country is planning to spend on infrastructure over the next five years.
Roads, ports, airports, power networks and metros – all of these will need to be built in double-quick time as India’s countryside dwellers move to the cities in ever greater numbers.
But eager comparisons between Delhi’s Commonwealth Games and the Beijing Olympics are odious; China had the mass of the state machine to throw behind its showpiece, while India had to cope with the annoying red tape that comes with democracy.