Is the Wolf Near?

Is slowdown a bogey created by media or by crazy economists? On a fine morning, the printed media report all the good news. Indians are shelling out more for entertainment. India’s IT, ITeS revenue is estimated to climb up to USD132bn by 2012. Many such as Torrent are focusing on building power generation capacity that is holding up India’s growth. Hinduja’s Leyland has brought in Sumantran of Tata Motors fame, and investing Rs 3,000 crore in its Uttarakhand plant and for a new engine plant. MIL is to invest Rs 2,000 crore in Rajasthan. BHEL goes ahead to double its expenditure in R&D to meet competition from the Chinese and others from the developed countries.

R-Comm net profit rises 71% to Rs 5,401 crore. And many have done equally good.

Investors at the Real Estate Investment World are talking of investing billions of dollars in India. The optimism comes at a time when according to media real estate companies are reporting a slow down in sales of new homes and there are fewer takers for large land deals. Australian firm Babcock sets its sights on India.

Dr Reddy’s buys BASF’s contract manufacturing business in US. Essar Steel offers $669m to buy a US company. Bombay Rayon plans to buy Italian retail business for Rs210 crore. Elecon Engineering plans acquisition in Europe, and US. Indian utility Reliance Power Ltd signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent in three coalmines in Indonesia.

While Bajaj Auto bike sales jump 24%, Hyundai domestic sales up 36.7% in April. An uptrend is visible in the car market while the slumping two-wheeler sector has witnessed a turnaround.

Export touched $16 bn in March. Amid constraints including a persistently rising rupee that eroded the margin of exporters and high transaction cost, the country’s export during 2007-08 hit $155.5 billion.

Chennai is emerging as India’s Silicon Valley. According to a report, strong PE investments are likely in India.

India received $24.57 billion of foreign direct investment in 2007-08, an increase of 56.5% over $15.70 billion in the previous year; and sets an FDI target of $35 billion for the current fiscal.l India’s foreign exchange reserves were at $312.871 billion on April 25, 2008.

The latest ‘2008 Global Outsourcing 100´, compiled by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) that features at least 20 Indian firms has five of them – Infosys (ranked 3), TCS (6), Wipro (7), Genpact (9) and Tech Mahindra (10) in the top 10.

A British Gas Petroleum Geosciences Research Laboratory at IIT Bombay has been inaugurated. Secretary Petroleum and Natural Gas M S Srinivasan expects IITs and other institutes in India to participate in the multi-billion exlporatory industry that is looking for talents.

How are all these happening? The stock market is discouraging. Inflation is nearing 8% (7.57% this week, a 42-month high) and affecting the people in real term, even after all the steps taken by the finance ministry such as increasing the export duties on exportable commodities such as even basmati rice and steel, and cutting down the custom duties from edible oil and pulses. Interest rates may rise, and cost of financing may also increase. Oil prices are still at around $110 a barrel. However, the food prices will certainly comedown. It is an advantage India has.

Can India avert slowdown for long? Perhaps, it can. Slowdown will keep away till we are having innovative and inspired entrepreneurs that enjoy taking risks. Innovations through an expanded participation from Indians in all fields and sectors can only scare the wolf.

India must have more of Kalams who even under all these odd circumstances dream big- India as superpower by 2012. As some said, “Keep the faith, India still rocks.”

And there is a reason, today India is profitable.

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