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India's downturn-beating skills much in demand

world Updated: Jan 27, 2011 08:28 IST
Dipankar Bhattacharyya
Dipankar Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times
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India has come a long way since the days it went to Davos to impress sceptical investors.

This year, it is bringing its recession-beating experience to the World Economic Forum 2011 that began on Thursday as the global economy still feels its way around a fragile recovery.

A record posse of corporate bosses - at 125 and counting - is in the Swiss ski resort's annual jamboree of policy-makers and business leaders to tell the world's high rollers that India's growth over the past couple of years is remarkable not only for being socially inclusive, but also because it does not come at the cost of other countries.

India is growing fast because Indians consume more than half of what it produces, unlike China where the Chinese buy about a third of what their country makes.

India's argument rests on the fact that its trade deficit is widening as the Indian economy barrels on.

It is evidence enough that it is not contributing to the joblessness in the West, where unemployment is acquiring chronic dimensions.

Five years since the 'India Everywhere' campaign, which was in a sense a coming-out party, the new and improved 'India Inclusive' brand has lost some sheen after an outbreak of scams.

Delhi is fielding a battery of ministers to reassure the world that any governance deficit is being addressed and India remains a market few can afford not to be in.

A string of entitlements, from food to jobs, is drawing interest from a global community increasingly concerned about sustainable development.

The Confederation of Indian Industry, which oversees the visibility of its members at the WEF, sees an emphatic return of reforms in fuel price deregulation, accelerated disinvestment in state-owned enterprises, an overhaul of tax codes, a national manufacturing policy and a new tribunal for corporate disputes.

Over the rest of the week, India hopes to grab as many eyeballs it can of the 2,000-odd high-flyers to introspect on what the world is doing right, and wrong.

As the media gaze on the WEF's annual meeting intensifies, Brand India should reach further afield.