Wednesday, September 9, 2009

G-20 nation profile: India





WHO IS THE LEADER FROM INDIA ATTENDING THE G-20 SUMMIT IN PITTSBURGH?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will turn 77 just after the G-20 summit, is a Cambridge and Oxford-trained economist credited with spearheading India's liberalization in the early 1990s. Mr. Singh heads the Congress Party-led government for the second time after an unexpected and decisive victory in elections earlier this year.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN INDIA?

In recent years India's economy was the second fastest growing among the world's large economies, expanding at close to double-digit rates, according to government figures. But the economic downturn has slowed the growth rate to 6.7 percent this year, while inflation peaked in double digits. A failed monsoon season this year has meant half of India is suffering from drought. But the good news is that emerging countries like India are no longer fully reliant on rich nations. So, while exports grew at just 2.4 percent this fiscal year, down from 28.9 percent last year, India's domestic consumer market is booming once again. Car sales have spurted in recent months, as have sales of consumer durables such as refrigerators. In June, industrial production grew at 7.8 percent, the fastest pace in 16 months. Business confidence has vaulted on the back of government stimulus and low interest rates.

WHAT IS THE GENERAL MAKE-UP OF THE INDIAN ECONOMY?

In India's $1 trillion economy, 54 percent of the GDP is generated by the services sector. Industry, mainly manufacturing, contributes 29 percent. Agriculture has steadily declined in share and currently contributes only 17 percent of the GDP. However, farming supports the livelihood of nearly two-thirds of India's 1.2 billion people, many of who live far below the poverty line.

WHAT IS MR. SINGH HOPING TO GET OUT OF THE G-20 SUMMIT?

India insists that economic development must remain at the heart of any new global trade pact. It has attempted to ward off protectionist measures in world trade, both in goods and labor, even as the government feels that protectionism is on the rise following the global economic slowdown. After serious debate, India has decided to take part in the G-20 discussions on climate change and how efforts to combat it should be financed globally. But India holds that these climate talks will not run parallel to the ongoing climate discussions within the framework of the United Nations.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT INDIA'S CURRENT POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SITUATION?

Experts forecast that India's economy may just beat China's next year, with the industrial and services sectors growing faster than expected.
GlobalPost, a Web-based news organization with 70 correspondents in more than 50 countries, is working with the Post-Gazette on G-20 coverage.

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