Dec. 18 – India’s upper house of Parliament passed a measure Tuesday that will create a new independent anti-corruption agency with the broad authority to investigate senior politicians and other high-level allegations of corruption.
The Lokayuktas Bill (Lokpal Bill) has been stalled in the upper house for more than two years since social activist Anna Hazare first mobilized massive protests during his 2011 fast to encourage the more aggressive elimination of governmental corruption.
The earliest version of such an anti-corruption bill, however, was introduced more than 40 years ago in 1968, but it and several subsequent versions were never successfully approved by parliament. Continue reading
By Edward Barbour-Lacey
Dec. 11 – India’s governing Congress party has suffered heavy losses in three state elections and has narrowly lost in a fourth. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the clear winner across all the elections; however, the newly formed anti-corruption group Aam Aadmi (Ordinary People) Party (AAP) also saw large gains.
The elections held in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were clearly won by the BJP. In Delhi, the capital of India, the Congress Party suffered a massive defeat. After 15 years in power it appears that voters desperately wanted a change. The BJP won 31 of the 70 seats, the AAP won 28, and the Congress Party was reduced to holding only 8 seats. Continue reading
Dec. 3 – After Ernst & Young ranked India as the most attractive investment destination in the world last week, strong quarterly growth figures indicate India’s economy is on track to expand by at least 5 percent in 2014.
In a press conference yesterday, Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram pointed to India’s decreasing account deficit, rupee stabilization, and rising exports as signs Asia’s third-largest economy is on the recovery path. Continue reading
Nov. 25 – After significant changes in FDI policy earlier this year, India was ranked by Ernst & Young as the most attractive investment destination in the world – surpassing both China and the United States.
Ernst & Young (EY), a leading global consulting firm, based the ranking upon a survey of 1600 senior executives from large companies across more than 70 countries.
Part of EY’s Capital Confidence Barometer report, the ranking aims to gauge corporate confidence in economic outlook and understand boardroom priorities by country. Continue reading
By Kavita Patel
Nov. 25 – India’s voracious appetite for gold may be an obstacle to its economic growth. The subcontinent is the world’s leading consumer of gold but has almost no domestic supply. As rising income boosts demand, gold imports jumped from about 471 tons in 2001 to around 1,017 tons in 2012. Demand is inelastic as this precious metal plays an integral role in Indian culture; almost half of all purchases are used during weddings. Unfortunately, gold is an unproductive store of wealth. It deepens the current account deficit and slows capital investment, weakening the economy.
Inflows of the yellow metal have weighed on the country. In the past, almost 40 percent of India’s gold imports were processed by its skilled and inexpensive labor for subsequent export. This number has decreased to just 29 percent, and gold imports helped push the current account deficit to the US$87.8 billion it reached last financial year, an unmanageable 4.8 percent of GDP. Continue reading
Nov. 20 – On Tuesday, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh officially opened the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) at Mumbai’s Air India building. With seven branches initially, the BMB will accept deposits from, and loan money primarily to, women.
The first branches of BMB will be located in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Indore and Guwahati. In a strong display of its support, the Indian government has contributed US$184 million in start-up capital, and future plans include setting up branches throughout India and eventually overseas as well.
Usha Ananthasubramanian, chairperson of the bank, stated “…the bank will be predominantly for women in accepting deposits and giving loans. Our main objective will be to empower and educate women financially.” Continue reading
Nov. 11 – Kolkata is an old, historic city and much of its infrastructure reflects this reality. The city has India’s oldest operating and only major fresh water port. The city’s road systems were made for the many rickshaws that still ply their trade around town; now, the roads struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing number of cars. However, Kolkata is not afraid to try new things as reflected by it being the first city in India to build a metro system. In this highly energetic city, growth and modernization are the order of the day, and its infrastructure continues to expand.
Kolkata’s metro was the first underground metro system in India. The system runs for 16.45 kilometers north to south from Dum Dum (near the Kolkata Airport) to Tollygunj, which is also a key terminal point for buses.
Under construction currently is an east-west corridor stretching from Howrah Railway Station on the west bank of the Hugli River, underground and across the river, connecting with the north-south metro line, and continuing east to the Salt Lake City community. Continue reading
Nov. 6 – The Indian economy grew at a rate of 4.4 percent during the first quarter of the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to numbers released this week by the Ministry of Finance in their Quarterly Review 2013-14.
While real GDP growth below 5 percent is slow by Indian standards, the country’s economic output was still greater than other developed economies, such as the United States and Europe, from April to June of this year.
The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector saw the greatest growth among the economy’s constituent parts with growth of 2.7 percent in the first quarter compared to growth of 1.4 percent in Q4 of last fiscal year. Continue reading