(From Davos) Challenges Remain for Booming India

Thursday, January 27, 2011

By Richard Carter (AFP) – 11 hours ago

DAVOS, Switzerland – India has a huge presence at this year’s Davos meeting, with bullish bosses hailing a booming economy but warning that creaking infrastructure and wealth gaps could yet stifle its stellar rise.

A massive poster trumpeting investment in “Inclusive India” greeted the 2,500 members of the global business, political and media elite at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at this Swiss ski resort.

India’s own power elite is out in force too, with dozens of chief executives making the trip to the snowy peaks, including Sunil Mittal, head of Bharti Enterprises and Azim Premji, chairman of Indian software major Wipro.

Speaking at the forum’s opening panel, Premji hailed a “complete shift in the balance of power” from the traditionally advanced economies in Europe and the United States to the new powerhouses in China, India and Latin America.

“In 10 years, the economy of the emerging world will be … equal to or slightly larger than the US economy,” he said.

Mittal crowed: “In the past few months, India has had visits from all the leading lights of the world, the top five countries have visited India in the past months. 20 billion dollars in deals have been signed.”

Despite the worldwide slowdown, India has continued to surprise.

The economy grew a forecast-breaking 8.9 percent year-on-year in the July-September 2010 quarter and the Delhi government forecasts an expansion of 9.0 percent in the current fiscal year to March 2011.

Source: AFP (link opens in a new window)