Columbia Business School
International Seminar in India
Spring 2009

Instructor: Rajeev Kohli, 506 Uris Hall. x4-4361.

Please read the following articles, and view the videos, before we visit India.


India's Rising Growth Potential
Chapter from Goldman Sachs' BRIC report, January 2007.

Charlie Rose (PBS) talked to P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India, in September 2005. The discussion concerned the growing Indian economy, energy, outsourcing and India's role in the  world. India's GDP has grown at 9% over the last three years, faster than the 7% Chidambaram noted in 2005; his comments  continue to be of much relevance today.


Articles and videos by topic area

Topic: Economic and social change

  1. India's Recent Economic Growth: A Closer Look (reading)
    R. Nagraj examines India's recent economic performance in this article from Economics and Political Weekly (April 12, 2008).

  2. India’s Dilemmas (reading)
    Prof. Kaushik Basu discusses issues concerning India's growth
    in this article from Economics and Political Weekly (February 2, 2008). You might want to skip (or skim) section 3 of the article.

  3. Two readings that provide frameworks for understanding the changes in India. The first is  the 1971 Nobel Prize lecture by the American economist, Simon Kuznets, in which he discusses the sources of modern economic growth. The six factors Kuznets suggests as key to growth appear to be in place for India. The second is a chapter on Schumpeter’s theory of economic growth, in which he suggests long waves of economic growth (Kondratiev waves).

  4. Charlie Rose in conversation with Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group.

  5. Charlie Rose in conversation with Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro, on Feb. 10, 2009.

  6. The following video, The Other Side of Outsourcing, looks at how the outsourcing business is changing Indian society, especially the young men and women in India. The video was made in 2005 by Thomas Friedman, who wrote "The World is Flat."

Topic: Growth sectors

The following readings give a broad perspective on seven key areas: infrastructure, manufacturing, services, information technology, retailing, telecommunications and banking. Numerous other sector-specific reports are available from the India Brand Equity Foundation, and from McKinsey on India.
Please check these websites for reports on other sectors of interest to you.
  1. Infrastructure (reading)
    IBEF reviews the investment opportunities in India's infrastructure development. Also see Building the BRICs: Infrastructure Opportunities in Goldman Sachs' latest BRIC Report (January 2007).

  2. Power: Markets and Opportunities (reading)
    IBEF reviews the market opportunity in India's power sector. Also see Pivotal Time for India-US Nuclear Deal, a recent Business Week (July 18, 2008) story discussing the nuclear deal and its implications for American companies.

  3. Manufacturing (reading)
    IBEF reviews the rapidly growing manufacturing sector India.

  4. Services (reading)
    IBEF reviews the market opportunity in India's services sector.

  5. Information Technology
    IBEF reviews the expansion and growth of India's IT sector.

  6. Retail: Markets and Opportunities (reading)
    IBEF reviews the market opportunity in India's rapidly changing retail sector.

  7. Telecommunications: Markets and Opportunities (reading)
    IBEF reviews the phenomenal growth of telecommunications in India.

  8. Banking in India (reading)
    IBEF reviews the changing Banking sector in India.

Topic: Innovation

The first reading below is from Wikipedia. It provides a useful summary of several different views about innovation. The other articles and videos below give examples of recent innovations, in both the public and private sectors, that have received notable attention in India. Please note that we are concerned with innovation in the broadest sense of value creation - the introduction of something new and useful in a society or culture. It can include, for example,  innovations in technologies and/or their uses, value propositions, business processes, business models,  incentives and administrative structures. The relation between innovation and economic growth is also discussed in the Kuznets and Schumpeter readings noted above.
  1. Wikipedia on innovation

  2. $28 foot (reading)
    Time magazine story about an artificial foot made for poor farmers and laborers. Read how it is being used. A related video is available here.

  3. e-Choupal - ITC Ltd. (reading)
    e-Choupal is an IT innovation for Indian farmers.
    The following two-part video shows how e-Choupal is being used.
  4. Riding the earning horse: Indian Railways (reading and video)
    Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav is hailed a hero for changing Indian Railways from a perennial loss-maker to a striking success. Indian Railways is the largest employer in the world. See the video accompanying the story. Here is Mr. Yadav in India's Parliament, joking about his achievements.

  1. You must have heard of the Tata Nano - the People's Car that will sell for the price of a laptop (Rs. 100,000). Here's Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Motors, announcing the launch of the car. Here is The Wall Street Journal's take on the car; and here is Newseek's.

Recommended (but not required) books

  1. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profit, by C.K. Prahalad (2006), Wharton School Publishing. Several chapters from the book, and related videos, are available for download from Prof. Prahalad's web site at University of Michigan (under the section entitled Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid).

  2. Doing Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today in Tomorrow's Most Exciting Market by Gunjan Bagla (2008), Business Plus.

  3. The 86 Percent Solution: How to Succeed in the Biggest Market Opportunity of the 21st Century, by Vijay Mahajan and Kamini Bagga (2004), Wharton School Publishing. Chapters 2, 5, 7 and 8 are especially interesting. Sample chapters are available online.

  4. In Spite of the Gods, by Edward Luce (2007), Doubleday.
    Presents a good overview of modern Indian society. A bit bleak, but perceptive.

Additional resources

Please read in greater detail about the Indian business sector(s) most relevant to your interests. Some useful resources are given below.

  1. India Brand Equity Foundation has recent reports on various aspects relating to Indian business. These reports can be found under the research section, or by searching the web site. Several sector-specific reports are available free of charge. See especially the Doing Business in India surveys.

  2. Oxford Companion to Economics in India is a searchable, pdf file. Use it to get started on almost any topic of interest.

  3. Ernst and Young's Doing Business India (2007) is a useful overview of India, the recent changes in the country, and the opportunities it presents.

  4. Goldman Sachs' famous BRIC reports are available online (free).

  5. Planning Commission of India has published a series of sector-wise reports, stating the goals and assessing the feasibility of changes over the next five years. The latest plan, covering 2007-2012, is available here (pdf).

  6. New York Times country overview and collection of stories on India. 

Travel resources

  1. New York Times India made easy
  2. New York Times 36 hours in Mumbai
  3. Wikipedia: Mumbai

General newspapers
  1. Times of India
  2. Hindustan Times
  3. Indian Express

Business newspapers
  1. Economic Times
  2. Financial Times
  3. The Mint

General magazines
  1. India Today
  2. Outlook

Business magazines
  1. Economic & Political Weekly
  2. Business World
  3. Business Standard
  4. Business Line
  5. Silicon India