India’s industrial economy, which has invested extensively
in technology initiatives such as space research and digital communications,
contrasts with the poverty that lingers, especially in rural areas.
India ranks with the top 12 in the world by gross national product.
Approximately 2 - 3rd of the population is involved in agriculture,
both subsistence – mainly cereals and cash crops including
rubber, coffee, tea, cotton, sugar, jute, oil seeds and tobacco.
Growth in this sector has been stable in spite of frequent damage
by flooding and drought.
India’s energy requirements are satisfied by oil, most of
which is imported in spite of the growth of indigenous production,
and hydroelectric schemes, mainly based among the powerful northern
rivers. Mining is a fairly small sector, but does produce iron ore
and cut diamonds for export.
India’s main industrial development has been in engineering;
particularly transport equipment (a huge export earner), iron and
steel, chemicals, textiles and electronics.
Economic reforms were initiated throughout the 1990s, under which
trade has been liberalized, the rambling public sector reduced,
and government-owned industries sold off. The plan was approved
by the IMF, which supplied considerable credits to the Indian treasury.
After the hiatus following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the
economy continued its healthy growth rate, presently just above
6 percent annually while inflation is just 5 percent.
Indian universities and colleges are producing large numbers of
graduates with advanced technology skills who are now sought by
employers in North America and Europe (where there is a lack of
qualified IT workers): the Indian economy is still not sufficiently
developed to absorb this resource.
Additional reforms, especially improvements to the infrastructure
and basic services, are now regarded as the top priority for central
and regional governments. Foreign direct investment has achieved
an all-time peak of over US$4 billion annually and is set to continue
climbing. Japan and Russia are India’s main trading partners,
alongside a wide array of extensive bilateral economic relations
stretching from Australia and the Pacific Basin through Western
Europe to the USA, Canada and Brazil.
English is widely spoken in commercial circles, so there is little
need for an interpreter or translation services. Business cards
are usually exchanged and should be presented and received with
two hands. When introduced to someone, wait to see if your host
extends a Namaste, the traditional Indian greeting in which
hands are clasped as if in prayer in front of the chest with a little
bow, or offers the hand. When eating, visitors should wait to see
if their host uses cutlery or fingers, and follow suit ( only the
right hand is used for eating). All measures and weights should
be expressed using the metric system. Indian businessmen welcome
visitors and are very accomodating. Entertaining normally takes
place in private clubs. The best months for business visits are
from October to March. Accommodation should be booked well in advance.
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm, Saturday
9.30 am - 1.00 pm.
The following organizations can offer advice:
Ministry of External Affairs, South Block, New Delhi 110 011
(tel: (11) 2301-2318 or 2301-1165; fax: (11) 2379-3062)
of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), 147B Gautam Nagar,
Gulmohar Enclave, New Delhi 110 049 (tel: (11) 2651-2477-9; fax:
(11) 2651-2154; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Federation
House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi 110 001 (tel: (11) 2373 8760-70; fax:
(11) 2332-0714 or 2372-1504; email: email@example.com)
The main congress and exhibition centers are in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
(Calcutta), Chennai, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Bhubeneswar,
Hyderabad, Bangalore and Panaji. Also, first-class hotels and auditoria
with convention and conference facilities are available throughout
Air India, Indian Airlines and leading hoteliers and travel
agents are members of the International Congress and Conference
Association (ICCA) and together they provide all the required services
for international events, including the organizing of pre-and post-conference
tours. There is a very useful hand book, which provides information
on India in general, and in particular on conference facilities,
called India: A Convention Planner, available from India
Tourism (see Contact section).