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India poised ?

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

Many articles on India during the weekend, in part triggered by the largest foreign takeover ever accomplished by an Indian company (Tata Group has bought the Anglo-Dutch Corus Group).

 

 

Amelia Gentleman writes in the Observer about the contrast between the triumphalism in business and economic circles and the poverty still to be found all around the country: "India eyes riches at poor's expense".

 

For the New Year's Day edition, the editor of the Times of India, the country's most popular English-language newspaper, decided to try something new. He stripped all the news articles from the front page and launched a defiantly patriotic campaign with the logo 'India Poised'.

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With investment banks predicting that India will become the world's third largest economy within two decades and a CIA report forecasting that the 21st century will be India's, this national self-confidence is spreading fast. 'We no longer discuss the future of India. We say: "The future is India",' Trade Minister Kamal Nath likes to remark.

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Travel a few miles outside the bubble of prosperity in Delhi or the financial capital, Mumbai, and this superpower mania can seem bewildering. Beyond the sleek glass-tower blocks that house call-centre offices on the outskirts of the city, and the extravagant, Florida-style apartment complexes (titled with imaginative dishonesty 'Bayview Heights' or 'Heritage Luxury'), the new India suddenly disappears. Instead there is a vision of a more troubled India, where around 700 million people scratch a living out of agriculture and some 300 million battle to survive beneath the poverty line. Horse-drawn carts dodge trucks as they drive the wrong way down the national highway, overloaded with leaking sacks of grain.

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently highlighted the inherent tastelessness in harping on about the country's glorious economic destiny at a time when such a large portion of the population continued to be excluded from the benefits of growth. Singh urged his listeners to remember the 'vast segments of our people who are untouched by modernisation; who continue to do backbreaking labour,' and, with characteristic honesty, listed the countless obstacles standing in the way of enduring economic success - illiteracy, failing healthcare, lagging education systems, crumbling infrastructure, hunger, poverty.

 

 

In DNAIndia Gautam Adhikari also writes about these contrasts, which he describes as the Ying and Yang of India. India is poised, but it might freeze in its leaping posture...

 

The Economist wonders: “India poised”. But poised for what? It thinks that India is overheating and its growth is not sustainable.

 

 

Do you want to read more about India? Shashi Tharoor reviews in the Washington Post the book In Spite of the Gods by Edward Luce.

 

 

 

Comments

Submitted by Anju Chandel on
India is poised, indeed! It is quite interesting to see the world debate India's progress towards economic superpowerdom! India sure is Poised! Nevertheless, we cannot let any kind of complacency displace us from this vantage position. For overall economic development and sustainable growth, the huge abyss between the haves and have-nots needs to be narrowed down, and soon.

Submitted by rusty on
Also interesting, today Vodafone have bought a controlling stake of the Indian phone company Hutchinson Essar. Its healthy to see investment working both ways

Submitted by Anonymous on
hey, what does growth mean, are we really growing -- I also have a similar blog freeindiasociety.blogspot

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