Economy

Darkest Days

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Blackout-01One exercise in patience that everyone who visits India must get used to is the occasional absence of power.  What a few weeks of this exercise imparts on you is a rather serene acceptance to the situation.  Yesterday the AIG jointly experienced an eight hour blackout along with 300 million others as most of the north of India lost juice. Stop and ask yourself what chaos would unfold if the entire United States (excluding Alabama and North Carolina) went dark?  Here in India, a few commuters were a bit late for work and the newspaper headlines read: “India wins Bronze in the 10m air rifle”.

Update: Today we experienced a cut that affected 600 million people.  Some traffic jams were observed in central Delhi and we had a rather unexpected wait at the cafe for lunch.  

The Smallest Market in the World

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img_8485Throughout Delhi, wherever you look capitalism reigns. The most notable evidence of this to western eyes is easily the street stall markets that seem to be everywhere you look.  A combination of small sheds, tables and wheeled trolleys using the sidewalk (or road) for their shop space. What really surprises you  is the diversity of shop that is represented in these markets; hairdressers, stationers, electronics and even small manufacturers. AIG have been using a local market printer who’s shed is taken up almost entirely with a large floor standing colour laser printer.  To give you some context of the size of his shop, when he has to replace the paper in Tray 1, he has to step outside.

Delhi and the Future

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Construction-01Delhi is one of the fastest emerging cities on the Indian subcontinent with an average yearly economic growth rate of over 10% per year for the last five years. Because of this, any time spent in the metropolis leaves you with the feeling that you have somehow arrived a little too early and that the city isn’t quite finished. Wherever you look there is construction, apartment buildings, metro lines, hotels and shopping complexes, all covered in scaffolding and buzzing with workers.  Construction work in Delhi is often a family affair with groups living in the building they work on during the day. After dusk most of the sites in the Defense Colony are alive with temporary wood fired stoves cooking chapattis for the workers and setting up for the night. If the Defense Colony is a bellwether for the Indian economy as a whole then the future looks bright and undoubtedly different. All the AIG hopes is that they will get a chance to come back and see their old neighborhood in a few years time.