Economy and Infrastructure of India
The reform process initiated by the government in early 90s has led to the gradual integration of Indian economy with the global economy. As a result of these reforms practiced by the successive governments since then, India has emerged as the fourth largest economy in the world and is well on the way to become an economic superpower in future.
From the Nehruvian socialism to a more market oriented system, India has come a long way. And the process seems irreversible.
The opening up of the economy to increased foreign trade and investment has resulted in a substantial growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The fourth largest economy in the world, India accounts for 5.7 per cent of the world gross domestic product. Other countries having higher percentage of GDP than India are the US, China, and Japan.
Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, India stood fourth in 2001 and presently one of the six fastest growing economies of the world.
The reasons why India is a destination for business and investment opportunities are not far to seek. India has a rich natural resource base, sound economic, industrial and market fundamentals. A highly skilled and talented workforce adds an extra touch to the soundness of economy.
The growth rate of 8% for the Indian economy during the plan period 2002 - 07 envisaged by the Planning commission will be achieved in all probability.
It is of great significance that India has witnessed a 30-fold increase of Foreign Direct Investment over the last decade. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report on 'World investment prospects 2002' the annual average FDI inflow into India during 2002-2006 stands at a staggering US$ 5.3 billion.
The Balance of Payment situation India is at its best in recent years and has been characterized by surpluses in both current and capital accounts.
Keeping pace with the reforms in other sectors of economy, the infrastructure sector in India is also being opened up for private investment.
With a coastline of 7500 km India has many major and minor ports. Foreign investment up to 100 per cent equity participation is permitted in ports through the automatic route for construction and maintenance of ports and harbors.
India has the distinction of having the second largest road network in the world, spanning 3.3 million kilometers. Most of the private investment in this sector is in the form of the build-operate-transfer schemes. In recent years many new projects are being bid out on toll collection mechanism.
National Highways Development Project (NHDP) is the largest ever highway development project in India being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Under the project there is an arrangement of widening of over 13,000 km of highways in India. The project will cost US$ 13.2 billion.
India is home to 122 airports, which are controlled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The government is in the process of opening of the major international airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to private sector.
The telecommunications network of India ranks among top ten countries. One of largest and fastest growing telecom markets in the world, India has an investment potential estimated at US$ 39 billion by 2005 and US$ 69 billion by 2010.