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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Business and Economy of India

Busines and Economy of India

Though the constitution proclaims India to be a socialist country, it is in truth a mixed economy with a strong and influential private sector. Public sector undertakings controlled by the state are involved in many industries though the need for disinvestment is being increasingly felt. India has a planned economy.

It is largely an agrarian economy. Rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane and potatoes are the bulk of the produce. Livestock include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats and poultry. Coastal communities and those who live on riverbanks are often dependent on fishing for livelihood.

The major foreign exchange earner for India is textile, followed by Information Technology. With Indian IT professionals making it big in the United States and Indian IT companies proving to be among the best in the crop, there is new international interest in Indian professionals. Precious and semi-precious stones, leather products, engineering goods and chemicals are also exported.

Major trading partners include US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UAE.

Major industries include steel, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum and machinery.

Business Guide

Biz overview and hours

The major centres of business wheeling and dealing are Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Calcutta. Some consider Mumbai the financial capital of India. Many corporate houses and India’s showbiz industry have their headquarters in this city where sophisticated executives work hard and play hard too. Bangalore, and increasingly Hyderabad, is where the technology giants are based. Balmy climate, green avenues and great infrastructure make Bangalore the ideal place to do business. A very important port and at the centre of the textile trade is the southern city of Chennai. Heavy industry and jute is the bastion of genteel old Calcutta. Once the capital of British India, the city that’s struggling under the weight of humanity refuses to let go of old world politeness. The port supports sea trade for eastern India and Nepal. Capital city, headquarter of the Government of India, the world of busy bureaucrats; New Delhi is the place where decisions get made, deals are sealed and big contracts awarded. In the stately colonial buildings of Delhi power packs a solid punch and the biggest businesses of all are transacted.

Biz protocol

With increasing liberalisation at both the economic level and at the societal level, business protocol has begun to adhere to western standards. In the big cities expect thorough professionalism when dealing with private companies and high-ranking bureaucracy. Keep appointments, be punctual (though that’s a value that Indians are only now picking up), and shake hands if one is offered or greet with hands folded in ‘namaste’. You’ll most likely be asked questions about family and home not because anybody wants to pry but because many Indians believe that curiosity conveys concern.

There are many women executives, often top-level management. Most will not take shaking hands amiss. Some however, are still conservative. So to ensure you don’t misstep, be sensitive to how the lady greets you and respond accordingly.

Dress formally for business meetings. Women would probably be more comfortable in trousers than a skirt. Men should wear formal cotton shirts with a tie and trousers if the weather is warm. Otherwise a business suit is appropriate.


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