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Essay competition runners-up: Why does India mean business?

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(CNN) -- Business students and budding young entrepreneurs took part in our competition to tell us just why India means business.

Below are the entries from the 4 runners-up. You can read the winning entry here.

Runner-up: Vijay Chengappa, TA Pai Management Institute

"We are the world's second fastest growing major economy, the beloved choice of foreign investors, and an example of what democracies can achieve if implemented rightly, yet we have the largest set of poverty stricken citizens, abysmal per capita income and purchasing parity, and 60 percent of our people still depend on an anachronistic agriculture system for their livelihood.

"We cannot defend it saying we are a relatively young country as all our eastern and south-eastern neighbors, who gained independence at about the same period, have leapfrogged India into the new century.

"The 8 percent growth over the past few years has mainly been due to high FDI inflows, huge foreign exchange reserves and a booming capital market. The growth has been fuelled by the IT and real estate boom, ensuring only the cities and urban areas reap the benefits of the burgeoning economy.

"While the IT scenario has slightly stabilized after the dot.com bust at the beginning of the decade, the real estate bubble is still just that, a big bubble, and deflating property prices will drive down the economy all the more. Rising inflation, a constant pain, has partly been because of the construction and infrastructure boom.

"However, the strict monetary policies enforced by the RBI will take care of both of the above issues (though it may slow the growth rate).

"The infrastructure problems are slowly being taken care of, with 30 percent of new projects being funded by private players. The Indo-U.S.. nuclear deal is bound to reduce our dependencies on oil and thereby reduce inflation rates.

"The crucial factor here is that we have a top management which has slowly moved out of the conservative 'Hindu growth' mentality and have been introducing encouraging market reforms, but doing so at a pace which will not place India in a vulnerable situation to global oscillation.

"For example, Indian trade constitutes only about 32.5 percent of gross domestic product; hence we are better protected from fluctuations in global trade. This structural transformation is complemented by the fact that our economy is now primarily service-sector driven, ably supported by other sectors like manufacturing and telecom, which have all been growing at double digit rates.

"Also, Indian companies account for most of the economic activity in India, reducing the dependency on global players. India is also the one of the youngest countries, with a median age of 25, as compared to 36 in the U.S. and 43 in Japan.

"In the coming years, we'll have the largest segment of our population in the workforce, something that puts us at a huge advantage over our Chinese peers. These are the reasons why India is tipped to be the world's third largest economy in the world by 2035.

"This is why western policy makers and investors look up to this country as a ray of hope in an increasingly gloomy sky; an economy which is still a juxtapose of go-getters and have-nots. This is why India means business."

Runner-up: Chintan Machchhar, Welingkar

"In this global economic crisis, it makes more sense than ever to connect with India.

"Simply put, India allows you to extend your resources, expand your markets, save on expenses, and accelerate your product and application development.

"India today has come to the forefront as a global resource for industry in manufacturing and services. Its pool of technical skills, its base of English-speaking populace with an increasing disposable income and its burgeoning market have all combined to enable India emerge as a viable partner to global industry.

"Developing an increasingly global focus, the Indian corporate sector has expanded capacity and upgraded technology clocking higher sales and profits. With diverse industries spread across the country, a mature and dynamic private sector (which accounts for 75 percent of India's GDP), and a market of immense potential, India offers unlimited opportunities for business.

"Low labor costs, a huge pool of skilled manpower, and abundant natural resources make India a highly competitive manufacturing base for global exports in addition to catering to the vast domestic market.

"The use of English for business and official communication, and the high-quality managerial and technical talent created by the best higher education system in the developing world, add to India's business friendliness.

"And its geographic location makes it an ideal launching pad for exports into the fastest growing markets of the world. A major problem faced by India is of power supply. To meet the immediate demand the government has asked the plants to import coal to meet the shortfall between demand and supply.

"The SSIs being the provider of inputs to the big business houses are playing a major role in the economy. SSI which includes industrial undertakings in which investments in fixed assets in plant and machinery excluding land and buildings whether held under ownership, lease or hire purchase does not exceed 1 crore.

"Most of them act as ancillary to big business houses. Some are tiny industries where fixed assets including plant and machinery is worth only 25 lakhs or below and yet another group concentrates on exports. Following things like providing online provisional registration for SSIs, and single window system to be followed to save lot of time. Investment opportunities in India are today perhaps at a peak.

"The Government of India is committed to enabling foreign investors discover India as a partner with whom they can work in synergy to achieve their objectives of growth and profitability. And today, with global recession looming, and corporations cutting back on manpower and expenses, it makes more sense than ever to use your resources to go further.

"Many large corporations for years have been leveraging Indian brain-power, talent and knowledge for R&D, manufacturing and for back-office operations. Because of relatively cheap labor and excellent talent, you can manage your financial resources much more efficiently."

Runner-up: Ramesh Nambiar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

"India is like an elephant slow and steady but means business. As a travel professional I am used to telling visitors to India for the last 20 years that India is a litmus test for many travelers: "Some are only too happy to leave, while others stay for a lifetime".

"The same applies to all those who venture to do business with India. Japanese and Korean companies withstood many hurdles in this period and will in future reap the benefit for showing their perseverance in India.

"When negative sentiment dominates the headlines, as the western financial crisis has done these past many weeks, the good news for the long-term in India tends not to get noticed. India's fundamentals are rock solid.

"Firstly our assets in banks are safe as the percentage of non-performing assets is 1 percent of even small banks.

"Secondly India's largest import invoice - the petrol bill is going to be greatly reduced thanks to oil selling at $55 a barrel and plummeting. Huge gas exploration on the eastern coast will boost domestic production. The Nuclear deal will also enhance our energy requirements. Eventually Iran and Bangladesh will have to sell to us as we are the closest big market.

"Thirdly, four months ago, the over-riding economic problem in India was inflation. It had touched 13 percent and today it stands at 9 percent. So the good news is that the tide has turned.

"On the security front all the political parties have decided to take global terrorism head on. Minor election rhetoric should not be confused with the majority view that no mercy shall be shown to any kind of subversive activity within in India.

"External aggression from a superpower like China is highly unlikely as they are seeing the benefits of doing business with India. Pakistan cannot dare start a war with India. It would be at the cost of their own existence already stretched by problems in Afghanistan.

"The present global economic meltdown may not impact India deeply because ours is still a silent economy and it's a blessing in disguise that we have not fully integrated with globalization and liberalization. Lastly we must appreciate the fact that Indians by and large are natural economizers.

"The Indian economic machine is operated by the strong well-educated middle class and essentially the Indian household is remotely controlled by the matriarch who means business without making a fuss sitting in the kitchen.

"The habit of saving is inculcated and Indian austerity coupled with a great risk-taking ability make a lethal combination. Ancient societies have resilience and a young India is one such place where the nation lets the statistics and figures do the talking. Watch this space in 2010."

Runner-up: Brenton Cordeiro, Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media

"Just saying that India is the second fastest growing major economy in the world with a GDP of around a trillion dollars is a mouthful. But a look at how India's bitten a chunk out of the global economic and business pie will leave anyone in awe.

"The Indian economy has grown at an average rate of over 7 percent for the past decade, touching a record 9.6 percent in 2006-07. India's corporate sector is also booming. Twenty Indian companies made it to the Boston Consulting Group's 100 New Global Challenger Giants List, 2008.

"It's common to see a 'Made in India' tag on clothes, shoes, and a host of other items at stores the world over. India has emerged a global player in the outsourcing market due to cheap costs of production.

"It's no wonder that the industrial and services sectors account for over 80 percent of the country's GDP. With increasing margins and an ambitious business appetite, Indian enterprises have embarked on a shopping spree, purchasing companies and signing deals in various countries.

"India's Tata Group for instance, made headlines when it bought luxury car icons Jaguar and Land Rover. Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment tied up with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios in a $600 million deal in mid-2008. A report by consultancy firm IndusView Advisors said that Indian business houses had finalized overseas mergers and acquisitions worth $26 billion till September-end this year.

"While corporate India is busy abroad, foreign companies are keenly eyeing Indian businesses and the growing markets they command. Vodafone bought Indian cellular network provider Hutch Essar for a whopping $19 billion, in a bid to capitalize on India's telecom segment that currently has over 300 million cellular phone subscribers and is increasing at an explosive rate.

"Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo recently took over India's largest drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories at a cost of $4.5-billion.

"Manufacturers of high-end products have also entered the foray targeting India's growing rich. From Rolls Royce to Cessna, Gucci to Jimmy Choo, the lot of them have descended on Indian cities wooing the potentially huge market of India's young, brand-conscious, professionals and entrepreneurs who take home hefty pay packets.

"Relaxed government regulations have resulted in a marked increase in foreign investment into the country over the years. India managed a cool $25 billion in foreign direct investment inflows in 2007-08.

"On the international level too, Indians have successfully made a mark- from PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi to Lakshmi Mittal of Arcelor Mittal. If only India could still lay claim over Indian American Neel Kashkari, who was recently appointed to run the U.S. government's $700 billion bailout program.

"The icing on the cake for India Inc: The Forbes List of Billionaires 2008 included 53 Indians. India dominated the top ten on that list with a tally of four Indians, more than any other country."

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