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India Economy

    Economy—overview: India's economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. 67% of India's labor force work in agriculture, which contributes 25% of the country's GDP. Production, trade, and investment reforms since 1991 have provided new opportunities for Indian businesspersons and an estimated 300 million middle class consumers. New Delhi has avoided debt rescheduling, attracted foreign investment, and revived confidence in India's economic prospects since 1991. Many of the country's fundamentals—including savings rates (26% of GDP) and reserves (now about $30 billion)—are healthy. Even so, the Indian Government needs to restore the early momentum of reform, especially by continuing reductions in the extensive remaining government regulations. India's exports, currency, and foreign institutional investment were affected by the East Asian crisis in late 1997 and 1998; but capital account controls, a low ratio of short-term debt to reserves, and enhanced supervision of the financial sector helped insulate it from near term balance-of-payments problems. Exports fell 5% in 1998 mainly because of the fall in Asian currencies relative to the rupee. Energy, telecommunications, and transportation bottlenecks continue to constrain growth. A series of weak coalition governments have lacked the political strength to push reforms forward to address these and other problems. Indian think tanks project GDP growth of about 4.5% in 1999. Inflation will remain a worrisome problem.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.689 trillion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 5.4% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,720 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 25%
    industry: 30%
    services: 45% (1997)

    Population below poverty line: 35% (1994 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 4.1%
    highest 10%: 25% (1994)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: NA

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 67%, services 18%, industry 15% (1995 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    revenues: $42.12 billion
    expenditures: $63.79 billion, including capital expenditures of $13.8 billion (FY98/99 budget est.)

    Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery

    Industrial production growth rate: 5.5% (1997)

    Electricity—production: 404.475 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 80.35%
    hydro: 17.8%
    nuclear: 1.83%
    other: 0.02% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 406.02 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 130 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 1.675 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish

    Exports: $32.17 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures

    Exports—partners: US 19%, Hong Kong 6%, UK 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (1997)

    Imports: $41.34 billion (c.i.f., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals

    Imports—partners: US 10%, Belgium 7%, UK 7%, Germany 7%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Japan 6% (1997)

    Debt—external: $93 billion (1998)

    Economic aid—recipient: $1.604 billion (1995)

    Currency: 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise

    Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1—42.508 (January 1999), 41.259 (1998), 36.313 (1997), 35.433 (1996), 32.427 (1995), 31.374 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)