India’s Push to Center Stage of the World Economy

CAMBRIDGE: Twenty years ago, China ended decades of self-imposed economic isolation and changed the shape of the global economy. The world's other population giant, India, began its own economic reforms one decade later. India's reforms have been more gradual, the effects less dramatic at first, but after nearly a decade, India too is making a historical breakthrough. The first decade of the 21st century could well see India's average income per person double, and India's role in the world economy rise dramatically.

With one billion people - one sixth of all humanity -- stretched across a diverse sub-continent that ranges from the Himalayas to desert to fertile river valleys to great coastal cities, everything about India lies beyond generalization. It is a country that spans the economic scene from information technology - to which India contributes some of the world's finest engineers and programmers - to rural squalor deeper in few other places. Yet despite such diversity, some underlying trends are visible:

• India's economy has boosted its economic growth since the launch of market-oriented reforms at the start of the 1990s. After decades of economic growth around 3.5% per year, of which 2% or more was eaten up by population growth, India is now enjoying economic growth of 6% per year, of which less than 2% is accounted by population growth. With further reforms, growth could reach 9% per year, which would produce a rise of per capita income each year of around 7%, enough to double income per person in a decade.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.