BANGALORE, India, July 4 – It has been a little more than a year since the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came into power promising to embrace those excluded from the country’s new economic prosperity.
While the impact of his government’s efforts to help the poor — like increasing credit to the country’s many farmers and pumping in money for infrastructure, especially in rural areas — will not show for another few years, experts say, the bounty from the expansion in manufacturing and services that has been putting money in the hands of millions of Indians is now noticeably trickling down.
”What is happening is amazing,” said Joe Paul, the founder and chairman of the Uthsaha Society, a networking group that encourages slum dwellers in Bangalore to become financially independent. ”It is a ripple effect.”
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. . . , where the new prosperity is percolating, it spans a broad spectrum and reflects much more than an occasional, isolated success story. A big catalyst is the construction boom in high-tech cities like Bangalore and Madras. Besides the demand for construction workers, workers at factories supplying the building materials, and drivers to transport those products, there is a demand for housekeepers, cooks and drivers to cater to the double-income families who live in the new residential complexes and high-rises. Caterers are needed to supply food to the office workers. Security guards are also in demand. Trained nurses are needed to tend to aging parents of workers traveling overseas or living in other cities.
”The last few years of strong growth has facilitated poverty reduction, even though the fruits of growth were not distributed evenly,” said Ping Chew, a sovereign credit analyst at Standard & Poor’s in Singapore. ”The middle-income group continues to be the biggest beneficiary and this will ensure that the benefits continue to pass on to the lower-income class.”
For the full story, see:
SARITHA RAI. “In India, Economic Prosperity Is Spreading Slowly.” The New York Times (Tuesday, July 5, 2005): C3.