– but it already leads the world in these sectors

India is among the fastest growing economies in the world, despite recent challenges caused by the withdrawal of high-denomination bank notes in a bid to tackle corruption.
The IMF predicts that cash shortages will gradually dissipate, with economic growth picking up to 7.2% in 2017/18. Which sectors are fueling the Indian economic engine?

An Indian tech centre more dynamic than Silicon Valley
India is now an established technology powerhouse. Home to 40% of the country’s IT industry, Bangalore has emerged as the most dynamic city in the world ahead of Silicon Valley (Jones Lang LaSalle’s annual City Momentum Index, or CMI).

Indian start-ups
It’s time to move on from the clichés about call centres and outsourced IT services. Bangalore is a real technology hub, with dozens of new companies for Indians by Indians.

Image: NASSCOM and Zinnov

The number of start-ups in Bangalore rivals those in the global top tech cities, with San Francisco research firm Compass rating it the second fastest-growing start-up ecosystem in the world, after Berlin. All this innovation explains why India has taken over from China as home to some of the world’s most dynamic cities. Six Indian cities feature in the City Momentum Index Global Top 30.

World’s top exporter of ICT
India has been ranked the world’s top exporter of information and communication technology in the Global Innovation Index, published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD. India is also in 8th place for the number of science and engineering graduates.
The telecoms industry is massive and the government aims to grow exports by 25% in the next five years.

Doubling down on renewables
The Indian government is investing in renewable energy and a report from the The Energy and Resources Institute says that if the cost of renewable energy and storage continues to fall at current rates, India could phase out coal power completely by 2050. India is doubling the scale of the country’s solar parks and is one of the most vibrant markets for the solar industry. The giant solar power Adani plant in southern India is one of the largest in the world with the capacity to power 150,000 homes.

“The government is very clear about its solar plan, and large installations are key to this plan,” said Aruna Kumarankandath of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi “is a real evangelist”, and has prioritised solar to meet the renewables target, she said in the Economic Times.
Other growing sectors are banking, pharma particularly generics, as well as the retail sector propelled by e-commerce and a young population with more spending power.

The article was written by Catarina Walsh for the World Economic Forum and it is part of the India Economic Summit. The summit was organized by the WEF in New Delhi, 2017, October 4-5-6. (1)


Developing nations are now driving the world’s gradual shift towards renewable energy, and India has become one of the leaders of the pack.
With increased investments and clean energy installations, as well as the world’s largest renewables auction market, India ranks 2nd after Chile in the 2018 Climatescope (pdf) report by energy researcher BloombergNEF. The organisation studied over 80 indicators, such as clean energy policies, power sector structures, emissions and installed capacities, for 103 countries around the world.

India’s second position represents a climb of three spots from the 5th position it held last year. In comparison, China ranked 7th, down from the top position last year.

The Narendra Modi government in India has set an ambitious goal of reaching 175GW of clean energy generation by March 2022. BloombergNEF’s research shows that in June 2018, renewables accounted for 71GW of India’s installed generating capacity. India’s renewables auctioned capacity has also increased by 68% since 2017, and clean energy investments, mostly related to solar power projects, added up to $7.4 billion in the first half of 2018, the report said. Renewable energy installations surpassed those by coal power plants for the first time in 2017, BloombergNEF added.

But India isn’t quite ready to quit coal power for good. Though new coal-fired capacity fell to 4GW in 2017, from 17GW per year between 2012 and 2016, India still depends on the polluting fuel for three-fourths of its energy requirements, according to the report. China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa account for 86% of the 193GW of coal-fired plants currently under construction in developing nations.

“Faced with significant pressure to expand energy access (India) and keep power affordably priced (China), policy-makers will be reluctant to de-commission these relatively new plants anytime soon,” the report says. “And no less than 81% of all emerging market coal-fired capacity is located in these two nations.”

This is part of the article which was originally published in World Economic Forum in collaboration with Quartz and is written by Maria Thomas, November 27, 2018. The full article can be found in the links referred below. (2)


IEA, the International Energy Agency, points out that while India has 18 percent of the globe’s population, it only accounted for 5.7 percent of its energy demand in 2013.

And it’s not just lack of electricity – it’s everything that goes with it. “India also has the largest population in the world relying on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking: an estimated 840 million people – more than the populations of the United States and the European Union combined,” the IEA notes.

The disconnect is huge: Even as countries of the world pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions going into the Paris climate talks, recent analyses suggest that overall emissions will still rise through the year 2030, and current national pledges will merely blunt the force of that trend.

The key reason, highlighted in the new 2015 World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency, is that the coming decades will also see an incredible one-third growth in overall energy consumption through 2040, much of which will still be satisfied by coal and other fossil fuels. The agency highlights one particular country to underscore this trend – though there are many other candidates – India, home to 1.3 billion people, 240 million of whom lack electricity, most of them living in rural areas.


This, the IEA says, is why India is about to surpass China as the dominant global energy story.

“We think India is moving to the center stage of global energy,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol says. “All the numbers are indicating that India will be the number one country in terms of coal consumption worldwide. India will be the number one country for the oil demand growth worldwide. And India will be the country with more than 20 percent of the solar PV worldwide.”

This is happening, of course, because China is slowing down, nearing the end of what Birol calls the “single largest demand growth story of energy history.” Meanwhile, India’s demand is set to boom as it not only expands electricity to those who currently lack it, but as population growth and a move toward urbanization mean more cars, more appliances, and more overall fuel and electricity.

The new IEA report profiles India in depth, pointing out that the country has ambitious clean energy plans, shooting for 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022 in the form of mass deployments of wind, solar and hydropower. However given the growth in electricity demand and that the country’s power sector is highly dependent on coal, a great deal of the expected demand growth will also mean burning more of this carbon intensive fuel.

According to IEA executive director Fatih Birol
• India will be the country with more than 20 percent of the solar PV worldwide.
• China is slowing down, nearing the end of single largest demand growth story of energy history.
• India’s demand is set to boom in order to expand electricity to those who currently lack it.
• India’s demand will increase as population growth and a move toward urbanization mean more cars, more appliances, and more overall fuel and electricity.
This is part of the article which was originally published by The Washington Post, written by Chris Mooney. The full article can be found in the links referred below. (3)


India, with its inherent diversity, complexity, and scale, can provide the right laboratory for formulating policy responses to direct these technologies.

1. AI – Artificial intelligence

Take for example artificial intelligence (AI). Many cutting-edge AI algorithms and machine learning tools are open source and publicly available. However, training these AI algorithms for specific purposes will require challenging problems to simulate, and large, diverse data sets to simulate those problems on. These data sets are expensive and difficult to obtain, mostly proprietary, hoarded by a few big technology businesses, and almost never shared.

Image: Atlas

2. Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technologies.

The theoretical promise of this technology – immutable record keeping, decentralised decision making, transparency, fractionalisation of asset ownership, and elimination of intermediaries – can be applicable in a myriad of situations for a country like India where hard-wired structural issues such as information asymmetry, enforceability of contracts, corruption, black market and prevalence of middlemen plague the economy.

To illustrate, take a hypothetical example of a proposed public private infrastructure project – a new inter-state highway that will pass through an existing locality. Records of land ownership in the locality can be put on a Blockchain, and the investment proposal for the highway can be coded as a ‘smart contract’ for its terms, conditions and deliverables. The overall project value can be fractionalised and represented in terms of digital inter-state highway tokens to allow interested parties to obtain a stake in the project. These parties can comprise of the government, investors, developers, local politicians or public representatives, and the citizens and land owners of the locality.

Overhaul of rules

At present, implementation of Blockchain across the entire spectrum in cases like the above is beyond the realm of possibility. It requires a fundamental overhaul of numerous rules, regulations, legal frameworks, and a change in the core fabric of how political structures, governance systems, and business processes are designed.

However, collated learnings from small pilots – conducted in different jurisdictions in India, together with a group of distinct stakeholders who may have distinct and divergent reasons, interests and incentives to change or to not change – can provide valuable insights into the incremental steps required to shape the evolution of this technology to serve our needs.

This is part of the article which was originally published by The Print, written by Shailesh Sharda. The full article can be found in the links referred below. (4)


India’s coastline now ‘extends’ from Seychelles to Indonesia (5)

(1) India is on the rise – but it already leads the world in these sectors
(2) This article is published in World Economic Forum in collaboration with Quartz and is written by Maria Thomas, November 27, 2018.
(3) ) This article is published in World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Washington Post written by Chris Mooney, November 10, 2015
(4) This article is published in World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Print and is written by Shailesh Sharda, November 24, 2018
(5) The Times of India:

All the articles are originally published in their complete edition in the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM as described above.

More articles about India can be found in the W.E.F. in the sections: The Agenda / India and the India Economic Summit 2017.
Kallirroi Pavlakou
International News and Markets

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