Is India’s star still shining? Or is this express-train economy heading for the buffers? When it comes to writing about India, it’s hard not to wallow in superlatives and resort to clichés. The scale of the recent economic change is so enormous, the transformation so fast. Back in 1770, as the Western world’s industrial revolution began, India accounted for no less than 15pc of global output. Pretty soon, the sub-continent, with its burgeoning population, tech-savvy business elite and ubiquitous shopping malls will be an economic superpower once more.
Already the world’s tenth-largest economy, India is on course to rank second by 2040 – behind China, with America by then coming in third. On a purchasing power parity basis, in fact, adjusting for the cost of living, India is already the third-largest economy on earth.
With its 1.2bn people, India’s population is second only to China. These two Asian giants boast 2.6bn citizens between them, over a third of the entire global population. What’s really striking is that half of India’s citizens are below the age of 28 – providing a fast-expanding workforce over the coming decades, a major source of growth. Many of these new workers will be English-speaking and educated, part of a labour explosion likely to drag down blue- and white-collar wages across the Western world.