India : Business Climate
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New Delhi, January 1, 2009. India's Present Business Climate. India is less affected by the current financial markets than are other countries. It is not the super exporter of manufactured goods like China, nor the world's iron ore shipper like Brazil, nor the big gas exporter like Russia.

India is progressively integrating into the global economy, but is still somewhat insulated from the turbulence in the Western credit markets. To be sure, there is some unease here -- institutional investors have pulled some billions of dollars out of Indian stock markets, the call centres are doing less business, and the usually strong international tourist industry is suffering as the high season approaches.

But banks are sound and the central bank is well managed. GDP growth is estimated to drop from 9.2% for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, to 7.5-8% for the current fiscal year and somewhere around 6.5% for 2009-2010.

In our neighbourhood in New Delhi, and in Delhi's suburbs, construction continues unabated and undiminished. Buildings are going up and the government is completing new highways and light urban transit lines in anticipation of hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Shopping malls equal to any in the world are springing up in major cities and stores are stocked with international brands.

For more information, see the India Brand Equity Foundation's ("IBEF" -- of India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry) web site IBEF. It is worth reading. It is up-to-date and commercially oriented.

Other Good Reading. "The World is Flat, a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century," a best-seller by Thomas L. Friedman -- to understand modern and changing India it is a must read. "Flat" means a world-wide level playing field.

Edward Luce's "In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India," published by Little, Brown, is a compelling narative by a long-time student of India.

"India, An Investor's Guide to the Next Economic Superpower" by Aaron Chaze, published by John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd. is an excellent catalog of growth sectors.

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