| report on infrastructure spending, refers construction
| industry spending figures, illustrated with our famous
| Lotus Temple, Lotus?
SPECIAL REPORT - INDIA
Fast Growth Propels India to the Top of the World’s Hot Markets
Infrastructure, IT spending fuel burst of expansion
By Peter Reina in Mumbai with Debra K. Rubin and Nadine Post
Symbol. Local contractors see New Delhi’s Baha’i Temple as an early
indicator of Indian construction prowess.
In his first visit to India as World Bank president this summer, Paul
Wolfowitz singled out infrastructure as a growth impediment for the
world’s second-biggest nation. Indians already knew that and have been
trying to catch up on years of neglect. Despite bureaucracy and limited
budgets, infrastructure development is helping fuel a boom.
With growth of the $75-billion-a-year industry based on modest state
investment, the future looks bright. Government indications last year of
raising infrastructure spending to 4% of gross national product "shows
there is a recognition that we have to grow to 6 to 7%," says Ajit
Gulabchand, chairman and managing director of Hindustan Construction Co.
Building better roads has been India’s main infrastructure route to
economic growth. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is
immersed in a vast program to upgrade arterial highways from two to four
lanes. "The government is planning [road] investment of about $37
billion over the next seven years," says NHAI board member H.C. Gupta.
NHAI launched its widening program for nearly 6,000 kilometers of
highways on the "Golden Quadrilateral" between Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai
and Kolkatta six years ago. With 85% of work done, its target completion
has shifted from this year to next March, says Gupta.