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After a 23 year-old student was brutally raped in New Delhi in December 2012, women’s safety has been at the centre of public debate in India. A year on, the US-based Pew Research Centre conducted a survey and found that nine out of ten Indians feel rape is a “very big problem” in the country. Continue reading »

India is currently enjoying two of its favourite things – cricket and politics.

And on beyondbrics today we look at which of this pair, the popular Indian Premier League tournament and the ongoing general election, have the public more gripped. According to Google, it’s the former. Continue reading »

After a long weekend break for Easter, beyondbrics takes a look at the criminal records of India’s would-be representatives and Narendra Modi’s difficult relationship with Hindu extremists calling for intimidation of Muslims, amongst other inflammatory statements. Continue reading »

Crime, ill-gotten gains and violence are closely linked with electoral politics in India and with 30 per cent of lawmakers in the outgoing parliament facing criminal charges, the issue of ‘money and muscle power’ in the world’s largest democracy has once again emerged as a serious concern in the ongoing general election.

Civil rights groups such as the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have mounted a robust campaign to educate voters about the background of the candidates and have joined hands with 1,200 non-government organisations across the country to drive home the message. Continue reading »

Thursday was ‘Super Thursday’ in India – the biggest day in the country’s protracted general election – and beyondbrics takes a look at the battle in Maharashtra.

With Easter this weekend, the FT India team will give the blog a break on Friday – but check back next week as elections continue in the world’s largest democracy. Continue reading »

It is what might be dubbed “super Thursday” in India, the biggest voting day in the country’s month-long election. 121 constituencies are up for grabs in a dozen states, including Uttar Pradesh, the largest electoral battleground.

But strategists for the ruling Congress party, facing an ignominious defeat, will be paying just as much attention to voters turning out today in Maharashtra — a stronghold the party hopes may just save it from a polling washout. Continue reading »

As we heard from the FT this morning, film stars in India often graduate into politics, putting their fame to use at the ballot box.

Stars from Bollywood and many of its regional language peers have been making the move into politics for decades now, supporting parties from either end of the political spectrum. But this year, parts of the film industry have been pushing the electorate to vote for a ‘secular’ party – a thinly veiled nudge away from would-be prime minister, Narendra Modi. Continue reading »

By Gavin Bowring, Asean Confidential

China’s two-way trade with the 10 nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has grown more than fivefold over the past decade and is on course to reach nearly $500bn this year. However, Chinese direct investment into Asean has been relatively anemic by comparison, accounting for only 7 per cent of China’s total foreign direct investment (FDI) stock.

But if Beijing gets its way, this is set to change. China plans a fivefold ramp up of its FDI in the region to a cumulative $150bn by 2020 from $30bn currently. Over the same period, it sees a doubling in bilateral trade to $1trn by 2020. The map below sets out the current trade flows and dynamics. Continue reading »

With the Indian Premier League cricket tournament kicking off on Wednesday, people were a little distracted from the mammoth general election.

But beyondbrics took a look at the criminal and financial history of candidates in Mumbai and questioned whether anyone – even Narendra Modi – can kick start the economy quickly. Continue reading »

Voting is already underway in the state of Maharashtra, with citizens in the city of Mumbai casting their ballot next week.

And to stir things up, National Election Watch has released a new report analysing the financial and criminal records of candidates in the region. The questionable past of many leading figures in Indian politics is, sadly, old news. But the fact that organisations are digging up such detailed information on would-be leaders is a sign of progress in the world’s largest democracy, where governance has become the issue of the day. Continue reading »

China’s release of GDP data on Wednesday is triggering a fresh bout of scepticism over the accuracy of Beijing’s statistics. The key question is whether the reported GDP growth rate of 7.4 per cent in the first quarter gives a misleadingly strong impression of the real state of the world’s second largest economy?

“In our view, the 7.4% YoY growth does not reflect the full scale of the economic slowdown in 1Q14, and the actual growth is closer to 7.0-7.2% YoY,” wrote Shen Jianguang, economist at Mizuho Securities in Hong Kong. Continue reading »

By Rajeev Malik

Fixing India’s economic ills will be challenging, even for Modi.

India is a country with multiple social, political and economic personalities. Decisions and their outcomes often appear to challenge logic, and rarely fail to confound, amaze or disappoint – sometimes all at once. Even on a good day, there seems to be crisis somewhere in the folds of this chaotic democracy. On a bad day, one often wonders how it functions at all, let alone how it evolved to be Asia’s second-fastest growing economy, before losing that status to multiple and self-inflicted policy mistakes. Continue reading »

Lukoil has agreed to sell its stake in several oil projects in Kazakhstan to Sinopec for $1.2bn, in the latest of a string of Chinese investments in the country’s energy sector. The Russian company – the country’s largest private-sector oil producer – said the purpose of the sale was to “optimize Lukoil’s overseas hydrocarbon asset portfolio”.

But the deal is also symbolic of China’s rapid expansion in Central Asia, part of Russia’s traditional “sphere of influence”. Continue reading »

Management consultants at McKinsey say the Indonesian middle class consists of 45m people, while their rivals at Boston Consulting Group cite a figure of 74m. The Asian Development Bank puts it at an eye-popping 146m, or 59 per cent of the population.

Either way, investors are whetting their appetites at the prospect of selling their goods and services into this undoubtedly large and fast-growing market of consumers. Continue reading »