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Delhi Economy

Delhi is an important commercial center in South Asia.  Delhi’s service sector has expanded due in part to the large skilled English-speaking workforce that has attracted many multinational companies. Key service industries include information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism. Delhi’s manufacturing industry has also grown considerably as many consumer goods industries have established manufacturing units and headquarters in and around Delhi. Delhi’s large consumer market, coupled with the easy availability of skilled labor, has attracted foreign investment in Delhi. In 2001, the manufacturing sector employed 1,440,000 workers while the number of industrial units was 129,000. Construction, power, telecommunications, health and community services, and real estate form integral parts of Delhi’s economy. Delhi’s retail industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India.

For most of its democratic history, India adhered to a quasi-socialist approach, with strict government control over private sector participation, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment. However, since 1991, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. Forex reserves have risen from US$5.8 billion in March 1991 to US$177 billion in January 2007. High level of foreign reserves acts as a cushion against external shocks. Privatization of publicly-owned industries and the opening of certain sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate.

With a GDP growth rate of 9.2%, the Indian economy is among the fastest growing in the world. India has a labor force of 509.3 million, 60% of which is employed in agriculture or agriculture related industries. The service sector accounts for 54% of GDP; the agricultural and industrial sectors make up 28% and 18% respectively. Major agricultural crops include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes. Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment and textiles.

Last year exports stood at US$112 billion and imports was around US$187.9 billion. Textiles, jewelry, engineering goods and software are major export commodities.  Crude oil, machineries, fertilizers and chemicals are major import commodities. India’s most important trading partners are the United States, the European Union, Japan, China, and the United Arab Emirates.[16]More recently, India has capitalized on its large pool of educated, English-speaking people to become an important outsourcing destination for multinational corporations. India has also become a major exporter of software as well as financial, research, and technology services. India’s software exports is growing at the rate 30-35% per year.