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India election - the economy

Is India still shining?

by Rosslyn Hyams

Article published on the 2009-04-24 Latest update 2009-04-30 09:11 TU

Tata's Nano car aims at middle-class consumers, but its factory casued rural protests( Photo: Reuters )

Tata's Nano car aims at middle-class consumers, but its factory casued rural protests
( Photo: Reuters )

Some of the world's richest people live in India. And so do many of the world's poorest. So the economy is always a big issue, perhaps even more so now, with an emerging middle class, keen to see the recent years' growth continue.

During Congress's past five years in office, India has witnessed rapid economic and social growth.

However, five years isn’t long in a country with a population of over one billion, where the World Food Programme estimates that 230 million are undernourished and the World Bank estimates that more than 25 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, rising to closer to 30 per cent in rural areas.

The World Bank calculates that India has reduced the absolute number of people in that situation since independence in 1947.

India is now the world’s tenth largest economy. But the boom has not provided complete protection from the world economc crisis. Job losses and rising costs have made an impact on people's lives over the past year. 

India’s economic future and how it will be handled in the global economic climate is an election issue? But during the campaign the debate translated into the two main parties gazzumping each over offers of the lowest rice prices for consumers.