Yes, no doubt, there is a slowdown. A slowdown, which, like an uninvited guest, has not only arrived but is also likely to overstay.
India has not been affected as much as countries in Europe and the USA, if that is any consolation. Newspapers here still release pullouts for vacancies, salaries are still being distributed, and restaurants are still being visited. The consumer in India still has cash in his pocket, though he guards it with greater vigil.
The fragrance of the cash in Indian pockets has spread overseas. Forty-six per cent of the over 500 exhibitors at the Indian Machine Tool Exhibition IMTEX 2009 (January 22-28, Bangalore) were from overseas. Machine tools, also called mother machines, are used to manufacture metal components, and serve as the spine of the manufacturing industry.
With the government in no mood to block the import of machine tools, leading machine tool manufacturers in India are catching the bull by the horns. They have embraced sophisticated technology and increased their offerings to protect market share.
Whether it was Godrej & Boyce CMD Jamshyd Godrej, or that endearing couple of industrialists Vikram Kirloskar and Geetanjali Kirloskar, the Indian display at IMTEX left a definite mark on them.
The president & CEO of Japanese computer numeric control manufacturer, Dr Yoshiharu Inaba, described a BFW five-axis machining centre as world class, and formally inaugurated it. Technocrats such as Ashok Hattangadi of Conzerv energy management solutions considered upgradation in technology as a welcome sign.
While the pubs may face harrowing times, something will still remain to cheer if the trend continues!