India in the Super-Cycle
Comment of the Day

June 28 2011

Commentary by David Fuller

India in the Super-Cycle

My thanks to a subscriber for this outstanding report from Standard Chartered, which is a follow-up to their equally good global Super-Cycle Report. Here are a few of the points listed under the heading: "The unfinished reform agenda":
Productivity growth:
Developing world-class infrastructure - particularly in power, roads and ports - would go a long way towards improving productivity.

The virtuous cycle of skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship is important to pushing India up the manufacturing value chain.

Academic curriculum needs to change to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and needs to be complemented with vocational training.

Laws and regulations need to be put in place to propagate and maintain India's image as a safe investment location, especially if private-sector participation is to increase.

Labour reforms:
Improved employment conditions (employability of labour) would foster productivity in the manufacturing sector, along with human-resources development.

Flexibility to hire and fire is needed to allow larger firms to develop and benefit from economies of scale and advanced technology.

Minimum working conditions and a social safety net can help to safeguard workers' interests.

Fiscal reforms:
Spending priority needs to shift from wasteful subsidies to asset creation.

Impending implementation of GST and DTC can boost revenue generation.

Effective monitoring to avoid tax evasion and better utilisation of funds allocated for expenditure/investment are needed.

Financial reforms:
Private investment, crucial to India?s development, requires development of the corporate bond market, pension and insurance sector, and gradual opening up of the capital account.

Limits on foreign participation need to be relaxed in sectors like insurance and retail.

Higher level of financial education and introduction of more sophisticated financial products are important to increasing financial leverage in the economy.

Financial inclusion by bringing a wider section of population into the banking net is important; banking-sector consolidation could facilitate this.

Anti-corruption measures:
Misaligned incentive structure needs to be corrected to reduce corruption.

The process of complaint registration, prosecution and delivery of justice should be simplified and made more effective in order to tackle corruption. Dedicated fast-track legal process is needed to tackle corruption cases.

The Jan Lok Pal (JLP) bill being drafted by a joint committee of politicians and activists proposes such changes and could significantly improve the accountability of public servants.

Adoption of technology would reduce rent-seeking behaviour by reducing manual interference.

David Fuller's view I commend this report to subscribers as it is by far the most detailed and farsighted research on India that I have seen. My impression following an initial read is that it can be viewed as a wish list, in terms of all that India could achieve for its people with inspired governance and some luck.

Therefore I hope that Indian subscribers will distribute it widely, not least among India's politicians of all parties, press and business leaders.

There is so much in this informative report that I will certainly be dipping into it more than once. The research team at Standard Chartered have a global perspective and to whet your appetite, have a look at Table 1: Ten largest economies by decade. It commences in 1990 and includes their forecasts for 2020 and 2030.

I wish to invest primarily in these faster growing economies.

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