Paving the way in India

india-lf.gif Lately I have, among other things, indulging myself on India with a rather random view on interesting issues and topics concerning the large country. One of the topics was the retail sector and the potential possibility of a retailization process in India. One of the notable pre-requisites for the consolidation of the retail sector is the infrastructure which was also pointed out to me by Scott Peterson in a US context.

"One of the biggest reasons for the consolidation of the US retail sector was the construction of the interstate highway system that was initiated by President Eisenhower in the 1950's to provide a road system that would allow for rapid movement of troops and military supplies throughout the country."

This point obviously incited me to conclude that infrastructure also in an Indian context would potentially be a pivotal parameter in the development in the retail sector. So what is actually happening the in India at the moment regarding this? Well, luckily NewEconomist provides us a with an important post on the matter based on an article from the Guardian.

"The six lanes running from Mumbai to Pune are part of the 3,650-mile Golden Quadrilateral highway, which is the largest infrastructure project undertaken since the country became independent in 1947.

The expressways form a diamond linking Delhi with the country's three other largest cities: Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta. On schedule to be completed this year and within its £4bn budget, the Golden Quadrilateral marks the beginning of more than £35bn of road projects.

For anyone accustomed to India and the haphazard way things happen, the country's new motorways are nothing short of a miracle.

Dramatic shift

"We had to link the country up. This was a mission of the greatest importance for the economy," said BC Khanduri, who was minister of roads from 2000 to 2004. A retired major general in the Indian army engineering corps, he cracked down on corruption and delay.

"Look we gave deadlines and made sure people met them. There were penalties for poor performance and bonuses for those who delivered on time," said Mr Khanduri. "My idea was to say good infrastructure could be built in India too."

Many point out that the initiative to create a high-speed road network was sorely needed as the nation's antiquated transport links were cutting deep into profits and slowing economic growth."

So, is India paving the way for retailization here?