David Prosser: All is far from rotten in the state of India

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The Independent Online

Outlook If the Commonwealth Games debacle leaves you tempted to reach for the lazy and predictable clichés about India's failure to modernise and manage, consider this: last year, the country's economy grew by almost 7 per cent and this year it will perform even better. India has all sorts of problems, but it is also producing the sort of economic performance that most of the countries now complaining about the standard of the accommodation awaiting their athletes can only dream about.

The evidence of our own eyes tells us the organisers of these games have made a mess of the job, but the bigger picture here shows a country that has weathered the global financial and economic crisis of the past two years.

That has not happened by luck. One ingredient was the massive fiscal stimulus the Government offered the economy early in 2008, well before the worst of the crisis was upon us. When the financial storm did break, the Reserve Bank of India was quick to react, flooding the market with liquidity. And it was helped in its task by Indian banking regulation, which strictly limits the activities of the financial services sector – something which the banks of the so-called developed, Western world have been carping about for years, by the way.

Nor is it even safe to assume that all Indian infrastructure projects come in over-budget and horribly late. In recent times, a string of large-scale public works, from the early phases of the Delhi subway system to the "golden quadrilateral", a national highway network linking Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, have been completed largely without the sort of difficulties that have plagued the Commonwealth Games.

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