Simon Read: A youthful nation that looks a good long-term bet

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The Independent Online

The opening up of the Indian equity market to foreign investors is not aimed at ordinary folk. The Indian government hopes to attract the small coterie of very wealthy global investors. Even then they will have to navigate ribbons of red tape to become qualified foreign investors.

So how can ordinary UK retail investors get into India? There are a number of specialist emerging market funds available, some which focus purely on India, others which spread investment across the region.

Teera Chanpongsang runs the Fidelity Emerging Asia fund, which is roughly a third invested in India and Pakistan. He predicts India "will be one of the best among major global economies" in 2012. "Long-term growth drivers remain intact," he said. "Favourable demographics, increasing urbanisation, low household debt, robust growth in domestic consumption and a culture of entrepreneurship driven by a healthy corporate sector are likely to boost economic expansion in the long term."

Edward Bland, head of investment research at Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, points to the burgeoning young workforce. "By 2025 the country is expected to have more people than China," he said.

The introduction of an ID card system to allocate welfare payments efficiently and pay workers may mean every Indian will eventually have to open a bank account, Mr Bland said.