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Last updated : Nov 2009
Delhi Business Profile
Delhi Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Delhi Economy

Mumbai is definitely the financial centre of India and Bangalore her Silicon Valley but Delhi is the seat of government and enjoys a thriving economy. In 2000-01 Delhi’s economy grew at a rate of 4.5% and, since 1993-94, has grown more rapidly than the national economy. The Annual per capita income in Delhi, at Rs38,864 (about £570), is more than double the national average. Almost 80% of Delhi’s economy is in the tertiary sector, with financial services, insurance, real estate, hotels and restaurants the major contributors.

India’s economy has advanced greatly, not only since Independence more than 50 years ago but also with 10 years of reforms under its belt. The economic reforms established in 1991 can, by many measures, be counted a great success.

The liberalization of industry, devaluation of the Rupee and lowering of trade barriers provided for a powerful boost to the Indian economy. The government is totally committed to privatization – the recent sale of a portion of its stake in Indian Petrochemicals is proof that the program is gathering momentum. Inflation has declined from 14% in 1991 to 4% in 2000. Direct foreign investment has, over the time period, grown from almost zero to US$2 billion a year, while remarkable growth in the software industry which in 2000 generated an estimated US$8.3 billion worth of exports, up from a standing start in 1990. In 1990, India faced the possibility of defaulting on her foreign debt. She now has US$40 billion worth of foreign exchange reserves.

However, economic growth has since declined for the second year in a row – it now stands at 6%. The crisis in Kashmir jeapordises political stability, fiscal equilibrium and inward investment. Meanwhile, the highly publicized scandals, which brought the Indian government to a virtual standstill, continue. Despite the advances, problems remain.

The booming economy of the 1990s has failed to produce the millions of low-skilled jobs that India needs. Agriculture still accounts for 1/4 of GDP, which exposes the economy to the vagaries of the weather.

Both central and state governments have experienced enormous deficits, which hinder their ability to invest in the nation’s infrastructure. Unemployment also remains high. Exact figures are difficult obtain,– the 2001 census produced the figures for ‘non workers’ in India as 62.5% of the population. This is higher in Delhi, at 68.4%. Of these figures, approximately 30% are students and pensioners.

Multinationals with a presence in Delhi include HSBC banks, Citibank, Standard Chartered and Price Waterhouse Coopers, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Macmillan and Penguin.

Delhi'scentral business district is near Connaught Place, with secondary commercial centres at Nehru Place and Rajendra Nagar.

Business Etiquette

When greeting, people of Indian put both hands together as if in prayer and tilt the head forward. Women in India may not like to shake hands; however, men will be fairly comfortable with it.

There are 18 official languages and 1,600 minor languages and dialects in India, making language a very political topic. The Government promotes the use of Hindi, which is widely spoken in Delhi and the north. English is normally adequate for most business circumstances.

Corporate entertaining is an integral part of Indian business culture, making business lunches and dinners potentially disastrous. The 1st rule is that Indians only eat using the right hand – It is OK to use the left hand to hold a cup or utensil but should not be used for eating or passing food within polite society. As a general rule, the left hand should not be used for passing anything or pointing at anyone. To show respect, when accepting gifts or business cards with the right hand or both hands at the same time.

The other forbidden body part is the foot. Shoes must be taken off before entering a private home and, when sitting, feet should not be pointed at anyone.

Indians dresses are very conservative and women should make sure that they simply dress with shoulders and legs covered. Trousers are acceptable but shorts or short skirts are sometimes considered to be offensive. Even when it is very hot, it is anticipated that men wear suits and should not forget the country’s British Raj heritage – Men wear dress for dinner and blazers for afternoon drinks.

Visitors invited to the hallowed ground of the Gymkhana club, for example, must be dressed in a jacket and tie or be automatically ruled out. (Tee-totalers are not much favored either).

New Delhi is still very much attached to the days of the Raj, in more ways than one. The legacy of its bureaucratic and political culture means that business is conducted following the idiosyncratic Indian Standard Time – the same time zone (GMT + 5.5) is applicable to all areas of the country.

Business hours are 09.30 or 10.00 am to 5.30 or 6.00 pm.

As in the rest of India; however, Delhi is keen to be online with the rest of the world. Internet cafés resorts and hotels have sometimes slow and sporadic connection by satellite. It is still quite difficult to get a telephone line in India. Laptops can be connected to the Internet but the adapters required for Indian telephone sockets are difficult to come by.