India's Infrastructure

Ports and Airports

In recent years Indian seaports experienced dramatic increases in cargo turnover, but have not expanded their handling capacities commensurately.

In total India has about 350 airports (Germany = 550), hereof 250 with paved runways. Related to India's air transport infrastructure the situation is similar to harbor locations and facilities, respectively. In recent years the important international hubs registered annual growth rates of passenger volume of more than 15 %, but have not been adequately expanded. In consequence congestions and delays do occur quite often.

Utilities / Power

Often already deteriorated, urban infrastructure is stressed not only by increasing numbers of inhabitants, but likewise by changing demand patterns. Modern industries, huge office complexes and shopping malls are increasingly exhausting already insufficient sources of water and power supply. Moreover, emerging middle classes are pushing demand. Although lacking infrastructure is regarded as a typical feature of slums, measured in terms of reliability of services the entire country fits this criterion. India's water distribution network, for example, is in such a state of disrepair that not a single city is able to provide water for more than a few hours a day. Power failures are a common occurrence. As big an issue is disposal. In India's capital, for example, nearly half of the population is not connected to public sewers.

India's capacity to generate electricity has recently fallen far behind demand which exceeds supply by about a third. Currently conducted surveys illustrated the negative competitive effectcs caused by an ill-performing power sector. According to one survey it takes companies about 70 days to obtain an electrical connection. Moreover, outages are causing production downtime equivalent to 8 % of annual sales (Office of Industries. U.S. International Trade Commission: Competitive Conditions for Foreign Direct Investment in India. Publication 3931, July, 2007).


India needs to invest massively in infrastructure. According to conservative estimates an amount equivalent to at least 8 % of annual GDP is necessary to maintain recent economic growth rates. – Actual investment in infrastructure has been at max 4 % of GDP during the past decade. Infrastructural deficiencies hampered economic development in the past and will hamper economic development for many years to come. First of all, insufficient infrastructure will continue to plague India's people. Given the fact that India is a country which is characterized by a comparatively low level of urbanization (and large-scale rural-urban migration is causing substantial problems), infrastructure planning should primarily focus on the development of rural areas and regional centers. This approach would (at least) mitigate problems of urbanization and urban sprawl.