With GDP growing at 7 percent-plus per year, the Indian economy is the fastest growing worldwide, China included. This claim is being made from every available roof top by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is readying for General Election 2019. But while this claim is accepted by the IMF, World Bank and even The Economist at face value, several proxy indicators of the well-being of the Indian economy arouse disturbing doubts.
Last March, 25 million youth applied for 90,000 jobs advertised by Indian Railways, indicating massive unemployment. In January, the well-respected private sector Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reported that in the year ended December 2018, total employment countrywide decreased by 11 million to 397 million. Moreover, although the Modi government claims that inflation has been tamed, coin currency has almost disappeared and even roadside mendicants (whose tribe is increasing) refuse to accept coins for being valueless.
Worse, the stock market seems to have no faith in the glittering economic policies of the BJP/NDA dispensation. Market indices have plunged to all-time lows and investors seem to have lost all conviction. Your correspondent — founding editor of India’s first two business magazines who hitherto prided himself on careful sectoral investing — has experienced a balanced portfolio of blue chips plunging into the red. Moreover, according to the US-based Morgan Stanley Investment Management, 23,000 dollar-millionaires have emigrated from India since 2014. Curious contradictions of the world’s fastest growing economy.