Not too far away is India that is catching the world’s attention after decades of slow growth and extreme poverty since its independence 61 years ago. Having successfully implemented its economic reforms in 1991, India is now ready to take the world by storm. If India can sustain its healthy GDP growth over the next two decades, scores of India’s poorest communities can be greatly eradicated. To put things in context, India’s real GDP averaged 8.6 percent over the last four years, with an expected growth of 9 percent a year through 2012.9
Its robust economy has made India home to world-class companies across major industries such as information technology (IT), automotive, steel, telecommunications, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Today, India’s executives feel optimistic about their country’s economic performance and expectations for workforce hiring and employment opportunities.
Consider the IT industry, for example. Because of its high number of IT workers, India has built a sophisticated human supply chain. Its secret recipe in a thriving IT environment is to merge people and processes in an efficient manner. Home to close to 1.6 million IT employees,10 here lies the talent who write software for Western and multinational companies, and manage and handle back-office operations electronically for these companies. Such is the advent of technological progress that has invariably put India on the world’s technology map.
The telecommunications sector is another Indian success story. More than half of its urban population either have mobile or fixed-line telephone subscriptions. Today, India is the fastest growing market in the world for mobile subscriptions. The pace of its technological growth and advancement rapidly continues at dizzying heights. Coupled with the fact that it is a lucrative breeding ground for competitive skilled talent, India has become an attractive destination for foreign investors to focus on human capital investments for highly skilled resources.
In its perseverance to globalize its economy, local Indian companies have taken great strides to compete with their Western counterparts. For example, Wipro’s focus has been on certification and continuous improvement to meet the highest internationally recognized standards for software development. Further, India today hosts R&D centers for more than 100 multinational companies and is ranked as the sixth most popular location in the world.11
The Tata Group, the country’s largest private enterprise, now produces the world’s cheapest car (priced at “1 lakh,” or 100,000 rupees, equivalent to US$2,500 per car). When asked how he would position India in a global economy, Ratan N. Tata, the chairman of the Tata Group, said, “If we plan our cards right as a country, we could be a supplier of IT services and IT solutions to the world. We could also be a product development centre for pharmaceuticals. We could be a very good global R&D centre in biotechnology and in some of the emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, provided we really give them the focus they would need.”12