But that’s only the beginning for project leaders tackling
the mega-projects so vital to the city’s economic future.
THE GOOD AND BAD
The good news for Delhi is that it’s the economic backbone of India, Asia’s third-largest economy and a global
beacon for companies looking to outsource projects on
The bad news is that taking the fast track to global-ization and expansion has exposed the city and country
to fallout from international economic turmoil. Indian
business confidence ending in the September quarter
sank to its lowest point in five years as the rate of inflation passed 12 percent, according to the country’s
National Council of Applied Economic Research.
The concern stretches into even the booming construction and IT sectors.
Kushagr Ansal, director at New Delhi-based Ansal
Housing & Construction Ltd., recently told The Wall
Street Journal that projects not yet marketed are being
tabled or, in some cases, sold.
And Nasscom, the country’s software industry trade
group, reports it expects IT revenue to grow at 20 percent to 25 percent during the next few years. That’s
nothing to complain about these days, but it’s only about
half of the growth rate experienced by Indian tech companies in recent years. In July, the group’s president,
Som Mittal, told The Wall Street Journal, “The first round
of growth is always easier. The next 10 years is going to
As India comes into its own, salary pressures are weighing on even the major outsourcing firms. In late April, IT
giant Infosys Technologies Ltd. said in its U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission filing: “Wages in India are increasing
at a faster rate than in the United States, which could result
in increased costs for companies seeking to employ technology professionals in India, particularly project managers
and other mid-level professionals.”
AS GOOD AS GOLD
Decrepit roadways are slowing down India’s turbo shift to an economic superpower. So now the country is address-
ing its infrastructure issues through several mega-projects, including its most ambitious, the Golden Quadrilateral
(GQ). Announced in 1998, the 3,633-mile ( 5,847-kilometer) expressway links Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The
government hopes the project will give India’s economy a boost by facilitating transportation between flourishing cities and
struggling villages. Slated for completion in 2015, the $71 billion project is being rolled out in seven phases.
Roads have long been a widespread problem in India. “Our roads don’t have a few potholes—our potholes have a few
roads,” quipped then-Prime Minister Atal B. Vajpayee in the mid-1990s. And unfortunately, things haven’t changed all that
much since then. The nation has about 3. 3 million kilometers ( 2. 1 million miles) of roads that handle about 85 percent of pas-
senger traffic and 70 percent of freight.
The new project has hit some roadblocks of its own,
though. By the middle of 2007, the GQ was already more
than two years behind schedule, according to the Economist
Intelligence Unit. Much of that delay was attributed to land-
acquisition problems. And in December 2007, the Indian
Express reported that some 8,362 hectares ( 20,663 acres)
needed for the project hadn’t been acquired yet.
And that hasn’t been the biggest pothole. Part of the GQ
project entails converting roads from two lanes to four. In
August, the Hindustan Times reported that of the 7,498
kilometers ( 4,659 miles) in the project’s first phase, 443
kilometers (275 miles) had not yet been completed.