India Arriving: How This Economic Powerhouse Is Redefining Global Business

India Arriving: How This Economic Powerhouse Is Redefining Global Business

India Arriving: How This Economic Powerhouse Is Redefining Global Business

India Arriving: How This Economic Powerhouse Is Redefining Global Business

Excerpt

India is a land of oddities, puzzles, and paradoxes. Consider, for
instance, the southern Indian state of Kerala. It was long considered
an oddity within India: literacy was universal, the male to female
ratio was less than one, life expectancy was nearly on par with devel
oped countries—and economic growth was well below average.
Given India's social backwardness and Kerala's pre-independence
history of severe caste discrimination (including the prevalence of
slavery in some districts), Kerala's subsequent era of rapid social
development was a paradox. Given the social progress, its economic
backwardness was a puzzle.

The economic condition of Kerala began to change in the 1990s. Kerala is now India's eighth richest state and, excluding the tiny western state of Goa, the fastest growing since 1990. Its social development continues to outpace the rest of India.

India offered its own national puzzle: Poor economic and social development coincided for years with a keenly democratic tradition. By certain measures—the state of women's health or children's nutrition, for instance—India fared worse than countries in subSaharan Africa. Given its social backwardness, the preservation of democracy was a puzzle. Given democracy, its poor economic performance was equally puzzling.

As with Kerala, some of this began to change in the 1990s. India's economy now sizzles. By some measures, such as the size and depth of its software or telecommunications industries, it is as sophisticated as any other country. Meanwhile, its democratic traditions have strengthened.

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