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India: More People, More Engineers — and More Software

What characteristics distinguish the economy of this “quiet giant”?

March 20, 2000

What characteristics distinguish the economy of this "quiet giant"?

In the year 2000, India became the world’s fourth largest economy. What are the special features of this “quiet giant’s” economy?

How fast is India’s population growing?

As of the late 1990s, India had the highest number of births annually of all nations. Its 25 million births a year are roughly equal in number to the population of California.

(United Nations)

How many people will live in India by 2016?

By 2016, India — which is a little more than a third of the size of the United States — is likely to be home to more people than all of Europe and the rest of the industrial world, excluding Russia.

(United Nations)

Will India always have fewer people than China?

Given the current population growth rates, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2045.

(United Nations)

How focused is the Indian government on slowing population growth?

As of 1999, India’s government spent about 2.5% of its GDP annually for military purposes — but only 0.7% on health care, including family planning initiatives.

(Washington Post)

How important are foreign investors to India?

With a population of 950 million, India receives about $2 billion a year in foreign direct investment. That is about the same amount as South Carolina, which has a population of only 3.5 million.


Are Indian corporate executives comfortable with allowing their stock to be publically traded?

At the end of 1998, about 26,360 public companies were listed on stock exchanges in emerging markets — roughly three times the number in 1989. As many as 5,860 of them — or 22% of the total — were firms based in India.

(International Finance Corporation)

How does India’s economic performance compare with the success of the Asian “Tiger” economies?

Between 1965 and 1995, Southeast Asia’s per capita GDP doubled from 10% of the U.S. level to 21%. During the same period, India’s per capita GDP barely increased from 7% of U.S. GDP to 8%.

(Foreign Affairs)

How many truly poor people live in India?

Despite several years of relatively strong economic growth, the number of abjectly poor in India — those living on less than $1 a day — increased from 300 million in the 1980s to 340 million in 1997.

(World Bank)

How many poor children live in India?

In India, nearly 340 million children are under 15 years of age. Of those, an estimated 53% are underweight and undernourished.

(Worldwatch Institute)

How impressive is India’s educational system?

Each year, Indian universities produce more than 120,000 graduates with degrees in engineering — almost double the 63,000 engineering graduates from U.S. schools.

(Business Week)

How lucrative is India’s famous software industry?

India’s exports of computer software increased from $150 million in 1991 to $2.7 billion in 1998 — with most of those exports bound for the United States.

(New York Times)

How many Indians work in the software industry?

In 1999, there were more than 600 Indian-based companies — employing over 280,000 computer engineers — involved in exporting software or software services.

(New York Times)

Has software really replaced traditional ways of becoming wealthy in India?

As of 1999, three of India’s five wealthiest people were first generation software entrepreneurs.

(Financial Times)

Are all of India’s hi-tech entreprenuers in India?

By the late 1990s, Indian immigrants — along with immigrants from China — led nearly a third of all new technology firms started in California’s Silicon Valley.

(Financial Times)

How well do Indian immigrants fare in the United States?

Of the major groups of U.S. immigrants, Indians — 29% of whom have graduate or professional degrees — have the least proportion of welfare dependence.


What can the United States learn from India about democracy?

India, which holds regular democratic elections, has about 600 million eligible voters. With voter participation around 60%, India casts as many votes in a national election as have been cast in the four most recent U.S. presidential elections.

(The Globalist)