“India’s Cities Grow Fast, Develop Slowly”
In an August 3, 2010 report by Reuters News, Booz & Company Principal Ashish Sharma (India) said for India to develop its economy, Indian leaders must focus on developing the infrastructure of its largest cities. “There cannot be high economic growth without a high degree of urbanization,” said Sharma. “There is a clear, positive correlation between the GDP of a country and its degree of urbanization.” Historically, India’s government leaders and policy-makers have focused on villages, while urbanization has largely been a result of existing cities expanding economically and demographically, rather than anything planned, Sharma said. For instance, the lack of affordable housing means India has the largest urban slum population in Asia, with Mumbai boasting some of the world’s priciest real estate with some 60 percent of its residents homeless or living in slums. Meantime, said Sharma, foreign firms entering India or looking to expand are scouting locations away from Mumbai and Delhi because of poor livability, which drives up costs. “Our cities are not the magnets that Singapore, Dubai or even Shanghai are,” Sharma added. “Anecdotally, it’s very clear we’re losing our edge to these cities because of poor infrastructure.”