Senior Travel to India–Part 2

Sep 28th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

I recently wrote a travel blog on India for seniors. I have been doing a lot of reading on India and China and find India to be a totally fascinating country.  This blog will bring in to focus some information associated with a country in total development without the rest of the world really being aware of what is going on.  I hope that it attracts your attention and desire to seek out further information on senior travel to India.  There is much to discover and much to learn.  Check out Part 1 for destination information.

THINK INDIA: The Rise of the World’s Next Superpower and What It Means for Every American,” by Vinay Rai and William L. Simon [Dutton - 2007] is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand India’s new muscle on the global stage. In this text best-selling author William L. Simon combines with Vinay Rai, a philanthropist, and an icon of progress in India, to give an insider’s view into the country’s dynamic transformation, revealing the forces and unique characteristics behind India’s meteoric rise.

  This is super fascinating reading for those who want to be “in the know.” Vinay Rai is a billionaire, industrialist, philanthropist, and founder and president of Rai University. He was educated at Delhi University in India and MIT in the United States. He is president of the Rai Foundation, which is dedicated to improving education in India. William L. Simon is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller iCon, a biography of Steve Jobs, as well as more than twenty other books.

India has over 1/6 of the total population of the entire world.  It is the world’s largest democracy.  There is a wide discrepancy between the poor and the well to do with over 300 million poor people. Here we find 1.18 billion people (world rank: 2nd) (2008 estimate).  1/4 of the world’s poor live here and live in lean-tos or thatch huts.  It is impossible to describe “average” or “normal” in India.  With dozens of different languages with different alphabets it is a confusing environment. The population in India at 0:00 hours on 1st March 2001 stood at 1,027,015,247 persons. With this, India became only the second country in the world after China to cross the one billion mark. ( India is the 2nd most populated country in the world). India’s estimated population to be 1,129,866,154, in July 2007. I just don’t know how one counts that many folks, do you?

In India today you can find 70,000 millionaires and 53 billionaires.  Something is going right in India and that is very evident.  The country once called Hindustan has a population of over 81% hindu, 140 million muslims and more are skihs, buddists, jainists, christians or zoroastrians. One-half of the population of India is entirely vegetarian. From my reading the only common thread in India is complexity.  What is impressive is the fact that the GDP has doubled since 1991.  The recent rise of the middle class now is near 300 million but still many people are poor.  Any foreigner who steps into Indian soil today can not be but amazed by the level of activity, the sheer dynamism of a nation on the move. The United States is India’s largest trading partner. Bilateral merchandise trade in 2008 topped nearly $50 billion. For natural resources: Coal, iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, chromite, thorium, limestone, barite, titanium ore, diamonds, crude oil… it looks like they have got it all.

What fires up the economy is IT (Information Technology).  It was IT that helped India get its groove back and a prosperity for India unlike anything ever imagined.  It is in total transformation.  I used to think… “watch out for China.”  No more.  In 2005 alone 32 million cell phones were sold in India.  Presently the playing field of the entire world is now being leveled.  Thomas Friedman wrote the book “The World is Flat” and this is one of his main contentions.  In India today there is an inquiring attitude and an emphasis on education.  We have noted that all around us in the USA today.  Indian MDs, engineers, IT specialist are nearly dominating the nation.  In 2007 India produced 8.5 million BA degrees, a half a million engineering degrees and 12,000 PhDs.  That’s impressive folks.  They are “true learners.”

If you really want to know what is going in the world of economics and growth, it is happening today in India.  It has been said that from now on most of our primary products today  may well be designed in India, produced in China and purchased in the USA.  I believe that entirely.  If not today, then tomorrow.  Just watch India as it progresses and eventually becomes the major producer of almost every product we use in this country.  Many major firms are setting up offices in India right now as you read this blog.  The Indian retail industry is the fifth largest in the world. Comprised of organized and unorganized sectors, India retail industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India, especially over the last few years.

As the interior wealth increases Louis Vuitton, Baccarat, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint-Laurent, Nina Ricci, Van Cleef and Arpels, Oscar de la Renta, IBM, WalMart, and hundreds of others are rushing to set up stores in India.  I have read that Starbucks will soon have more stores in India that here in the states. Wow! India’s young, cash-rich shoppers have already picked out a few of their favorite American brands. Who do they like? Gap, Fortune 500, Harley Davidson, J.C. Penney, Office Max and Disneyland.  Zinc, sugar and steel are the fastest growing Indian exports to the U.S. while military products, artwork & antiques are leading imports into India from America. India exported US$21.8 billion worth of merchandise to the United States in 2006, up 16.1% from 2005 and up 84.7% in just 4 years.

India’s population is estimated at more than 1.1 billion and is growing at 1.55% a year. It has the world’s 12th largest economy–and the third largest in Asia behind Japan and China–with total GDP in 2008 of around $1.21 trillion ($1,210 billion). Services, industry, and agriculture account for 54%, 29%, and 18% of GDP respectively. India is capitalizing on its large numbers of well-educated people skilled in the English language to become a major exporter of software services and software workers, but more than half of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. 700 million Indians live on $2 per day or less, but there is a large and growing middle class of more than 50 million Indians with disposable income ranging from 200,000 to 1,000,000 rupees per year ($4,166-$20,833). Estimates are that the middle class will grow ten-fold by 2025.

The country once synonymous with fly-covered children and Mother Theresa is consistently snatching headlines, this time cast as in innovator and rising star.  I can not impress readers enough with the the coming of age of India and the importance that this country will play in our lives in just a few more years.  Growth is only just starting, but the country’s brainpower is already reshaping Corporate America.

India economy, the third largest economy in the world, in terms of purchasing power, is going to touch new heights in coming years.  It will grow to 60% of size of the US economy. From what I read it won’t take that long. Just you watch folks…  here comes India!        jeb



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