India infrastructure

Accelerating urbanisation – especially in India and China – is set to boost emerging Asia’s share of global spending on infrastructure and capital projects over the next decade, slashing the developed world’s market share by 2025, according to a PwC report released on Monday.

The report, for which Oxford Economics researched trends in 49 countries on six continents, estimates that the world’s urban population is currently swelling by around 1.5m people a week, mostly because of rural-urban migration in the emerging world. In India, for example, the urban population is likely to rise by some 500m over the next four decades. The Pakistan city of Karachi grew by 80 per cent to 13m in the decade to 2010. Continue reading »

Within an hour of landing in most Indian cities, visitors see what is holding back Asia’s third largest economy. They get a taste of the packed and potholed roads, and in some cities they might see an empty construction site that promises a new metro.

The business community has great faith in Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, and his ability to improve infrastructure thanks to his track record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat. But the question is: will Modi be able to improve infrastructure as quickly and efficiently at the national level? Continue reading »

By Ajay Chhibber, Director General, Independent Evaluation, Government of India

The world’s largest exercise in electoral democracy has delivered a clear mandate for development. The aspiring voters want decent jobs and a growing India. They have pinned their hopes on a Modi-led government to deliver them the kind of India where real jobs are created and services are delivered cleanly and efficiently. They want better governance not bigger government. They want a hand up, not a handout. They want India to become a US$10tn global powerhouse.

The UPA government was given such a mandate in 2009, but misread the message and blew away five years into more handouts, large fiscal deficits, raging inflation and eventually a slumping economy. Instead of creating real jobs, it focused on make work through badly run schemes like MGNREGA (The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) which have cost the country over Rs 1tn so far. It saw expanded subsidy programs costing almost 4 per cent of GDP – but with not much of it going to the poor. Continue reading »

By Amitabh Dubey, Director of India Research, Trusted Sources

Equity and currency markets seem to have priced in a strong Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government, and could no doubt rally further if the BJP alliance crosses the majority mark of 272 when votes are counted on 16 May. The logic is clear: a stable coalition would be much better able to coordinate disparate ministries, slash red tape and reduce the fiscal deficit than one reliant on regional satraps with minds of their own.

Let us assume that a strong Narendra Modi-led government does emerge. This would raise already high expectations of a solid reform agenda that accelerates investment while inhibiting crony capitalism. Recall that the Congress Party (CP)-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was reelected with much fanfare in 2009, but was derailed by revelations of crony capitalism and state capture. Continue reading »

It’s official. Jaiprakash Associates, the Indian energy and infrastructure conglomerate, has sold off two hydroelectric plants in northern India.

The last time one of the group’s subsidiaries did something similar, its shares rallied on hopes that the move would bring down the group’s debts. But this time the stock has tanked because of signs the plants may have been sold too cheaply. Continue reading »

Forget the domestic market – look overseas. That seems to be the message from Larsen and Toubro (L&T), India’s largest infrastructure company by sales.

And the slowdown in the domestic economy is not only pushing business abroad but also putting pressure on L&T, as management cut its target for the current fiscal year. Continue reading »

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flew over an infamous site as his aeroplane came in to land in Mumbai on Friday: a sea of tightly packed slums that runs right up to the airport’s fence, signalling arrival at India’s teeming financial capital.

Yet as he arrived to inaugurate the city’s gleaming new international terminal, Mr Singh hoped to clean up another stain on its reputation: the airport itself, and its dismal record of chronic delays and crumbling facilities.

 Continue reading »

For four months every year, from June to September, it rains in Mumbai. The downpours don’t come as a surprise. It’s called the monsoon.

And yet every year, just as predictably, potholes are battered into our poorly maintained roads, costing lives as well as money. Continue reading »

Roads in Brazil (top) and India. A fair comparison?

Rankings from the World Economic Forum show Brazil as lagging far behind the Brics countries on almost every aspect of infrastructure – the subject of a beyondbrics Chart of the Week. Er … excuse me? I beg to differ.

Brazil’s infrastructure is poor, even dismal in some cases, but this is more relative to its own needs and its income level as a country with a per capita income level among the Brics second only to Russia. At least in my experience, it is not bad in absolute terms when compared with many other developing countries, particularly those in the poorer parts of Asia, such as India. Continue reading »

Indian markets are buzzing with gossip about Larsen & Toubro (L&T), the Indian conglomerate, over two possible deals.

Although nothing is confirmed, analysts are expecting some deal activity to materialise – and the share price is getting a bumpy ride. Continue reading »

In India, there are just nine hospital beds for every 10,000 people; 626m people are forced to defecate in the open for want of sanitary facilities; and local investors are looking abroad to escape unpredictable regulation and unreliable infrastructure at home.

And yet, when religion and revelry are at stake, this same country can pull it together and host the 55-day Maha Kumbh Mela festival, where 9m pilgrims are provided with all the shelter and services they need. Continue reading »

India’s established metropolises are saturated with investment activity. Now, tier-two and tier-three cities are emerging as investment destinations and a new report from Cushman and Wakefield explains how much money is going into what – and where. Continue reading »

Anyone who has driven through the smog-choked streets of New Delhi, or the bumper-to-bumper honking cacophony that passes for driving in much of Mumbai and Bangalore from anywhere between 9am to 9pm knows that India could use both cleaner and quieter cars.

On Wednesday, the government seemed to acknowledge that fact, approving a $4.1bn plan that aims to put 6m green vehicles on India’s streets by 2020. There’s just one problem: power. Continue reading »

The news that India’s prime minister may use his Independence Day speech on August 15 to announce a program to provide free mobile phones to millions of Indians has a good ring to it (pun intended).

A grand gesture – and no doubt helpful to the Congress Party-led government’s image. As the Times of India put it, “its calling card for the 2014 [national] polls”. But beyondbrics asks: has the Indian government got its priorities a little out of whack? Continue reading »

As electricity supplies go back online, advocates of energy reform in India are hoping that this week’s power outages will provide an opening to press for far-reaching changes. However, the desire for reform will as ever come up against the politically possible. Continue reading »