As I got an invitation for a training program slotted in Delhi, I instantly got excited about the prospects of visiting the capital of one of the fast emerging economies of the world - the new India.
This was my first visit to Delhi in a decade and I was amazed to see how Delhi has transformed itself into a bustling metropolis; expanding at a mindboggling pace. This is where I see a fundamental difference between growth and development. Growth is just a ‘quantitative increment’ whereas development is ‘transformation’. The latter is what Delhi has witnessed.
You get the first glimpse of how the glittering Delhi is making a mark in the global market as you land at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. It is the sixth-largest passenger terminal in the world built with a resolute to be a regional hub and now has eight-lane road connectivity with the neighbouring national highway. Terminal 3 or T3 as it is popularly referred to, gives you the first indication of Delhi’s economic might.
As you go around, you notice that the city is on a building spree with multiplexes and skyscrapers mushrooming everywhere. With limited land for horizontal expansion, Delhi is rising vertically. There is no doubt that the national capital is challenging the dominance of many western economies. Though as you move to the older parts of the city, you see how this country is plagued by poverty and unemployment and how many are desperately struggling to get even a minute share of the modernization pie. While very sharp differentials exist in terms of distribution of wealth, you can never discard the rapid pace of its development and an immense desire to be an economic powerhouse, a feat which it has already achieved to a large extent.
Delhi has entered the age of abundance. The growth of IT outsourcing, software companies, BPOs and MNCs has provided a tremendous boost to Delhi’s economic development in recent years. It is obvious how the economic trajectory of India’s capital is having an astounding impact on the global economy. Merely two decades after India initiated market liberalization and deregulation, the city has experienced an explosive growth. The mushrooming presence of multinationals in Delhi is primarily a result of its improved infrastructure.
Wide, well maintained roads and innumerable flyovers grace the city. Huge investments in the metro rail, flyovers, the bus transport system has transformed commuting in the city. The introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has made the city almost pollution-free. The metro, in particular, has been a panacea for Delhi. It is rapidly expanding its existing network of tracks to serve to the growing commuting needs of the public and has redefined life in Delhi by saving commuting time of infinite travelers, connecting them to the larger city and allowing them wider mobility.
India has today emerged as one of the crucial engines of growth for the world economy and Delhi is a powerful symbol of that growth.
One can gauge the usefulness of the metro by how significantly it has contributed to the creation of a vibrant corporate sector and the emergence of a mobile and comfortable middle class. It is because of the increased purchasing power of this mass, that Delhi has everything - from the street vendors to the stylish restaurants, lounges and bars, from the footpath markets to the exclusive showrooms of international brands in glittering malls. The presence of international food chains and flamboyant shopping malls filled with upscale global brands add glitz to the city and make it seem truly global. One can never be short of options here.
In my brief stay at Delhi, I have seen a perfect blend of an entrepreneurial private sector and a progressive state capacity, democracy and capitalism. With what it is today, it’s surely on the right track of becoming an invincible economic powerhouse and a global business hub. The growing reserves of human capital accompanied by mammoth presence of foreign companies and its own productive private sector are pushing Delhi to the zenith of economic prosperity.
The robust economic system that has seen an astounding rise of the middle class has been a contributing factor to this revolution, backed by some innovative brains that have worked hard to take Delhi to this height. India has today emerged as one of the crucial engines of growth for the world economy and Delhi is a powerful symbol of that growth. This economic boom has also created a progressive new generation that is more enterprising than ever before. The future is certainly much more prosperous and it may not be wrong to claim that Delhi is the future of the global economy. India’ capital city has much to be proud of. And Nepal has so much to learn.