Business in India

india-lf.gifThis weeks edition of The Economist features a survey on Business in India. I have not read much of it yet but I will do at some point this weekend when the print edition arrives :). Until then you should go take a look.

(from the first non-walled article; all other articles are walled for non-subscribers)

"NOT once in a decade. Not once in a millennium,” says Manish Sabharwal, boss of TeamLease, India's biggest temporary-employment agency, of the opportunity India enjoys in 2006. “It's once in the lifetime of a country.” The euphoria is widely shared. Nearly six decades after independence, India at last seems ready to take the place in the world that its huge population should command.

For years it languished under a mixed economy that seemed to blend the worst of socialist planning with the least productive forms of private-sector competition. In 1991, faced with an external-payments crisis, Manmohan Singh, then the finance minister, now the prime minister, began to open up the economy. But even in the intervening years India's economic growth, averaging about 6% a year, has paled beside its neighbour China's. India, says Nandan Nilekani, boss of Infosys, one of India's IT powerhouses, “has always been seen as a country of promise and potential, but it has not delivered”. Now, he adds, even long-term sceptics are being converted: “The worm has turned.”

For business, India is seen as the next big thing: China 15 years ago, as the saying goes. No big international company can do without an India strategy. Some multinationals eye the country and see a vast domestic market about to take off. But even those who doubt that are impressed by its wealth of highly skilled, low-cost professionals. Some Indian firms, meanwhile, have become world-beaters—not just the well-known stars in its IT and other service industries, but manufacturers too, of products ranging from motorcycles to footballs, from medicines to steel."


"This survey will argue that Indian business can play a big part in delivering faster growth, but only if the government helps. The successes of the past 15 years have been, in a sense, the easy part. Many of the bars that caged the Indian tiger have been removed, leaving the beast free to roam and roar. In particular, India has been able to exploit its great comparative advantage in an era of broadband communications and globalisation: its wealth of technically adept, English-speaking talent. Now, however, further reforms are needed."