India often likes to believe it could be a ‘super power’ but analysts say a more realistic target is to beat China first. That goal is going out of reach, new World Bank figures show.
In key areas, the gap between China and India is widening, the World Bank's 2013 jobs report said. It suggested the country will have to leapfrog several years of drag to match Chinese levels. Chinese have more access to jobs than Indians with comparatively better pay. That's because India isn't creating enough new cities.
Neither is India adding adequate infrastructure to old ones. Since India could not create urban clusters — a source for new jobs — it could not absorb surplus labour, evidence suggests.
How did the Chinese do it? In 1990, the share of Indians in cities was the same as China's: 27%. Two decades later, this had grown only to 30%, while China's became 50%.The story behind the number is that the Chinese government started a policy of rewarding local governments, setting off competition in creating more job-supporting centres. The result was "unprecedented", said the World Bank report that covers more than 60 nations.
The Chinese also earn more wages than Indians for the same job because of better productivity linked to infrastructure.
Many areas in Delhi and Mumbai have only “four to five hours” of water supply a day, the report said. Power crisis remains a top hurdle for Indian business.
“An Indian company can face up to 17 power disruptions in a month.” This has kept both business and jobs from growing, a comparison with China showed.
Chinese job-creation was the result of new urban centres, driven “through a phenomenal expansion of commercial power supply, urban infrastructure, highways, and ports”. China saw a slew of coastal towns come up, while India has had none.