By Shashank Bengali
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Interesting look at the stark differences in wealth in India as its economic growth continues to move upward. The Indian government reported last week that its gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services it produces, rose by 7.6 percent from the previous year, cementing its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy.
Two sides to India’s growth story play out on opposite sides of a busy intersection in central Mumbai.
Inside a motorcycle showroom beneath posters of beaming, windswept riders, young salesmen in crisp polos run their hands over shiny Hero motorcycles designed and built in India.
Steps away, men of similar age wait inside a sweltering recruitment agency with their passports and medical papers. Many have traveled on overnight trains from far corners of India with one hope: to leave the country and become laborers in the Middle East.
The dual realities reflect both the excitement and the uncertainty wrapped up in India’s impressive economic growth statistics, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi carries with him to Washington this week on his latest mission to strengthen ties with the United States.
The Indian government reported last week that its gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services it produces, rose by 7.6 percent from the previous year, cementing its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy.
Amid a slowdown in China and crises in Brazil, Russia and South Africa, India is a bright spot for global investors and an increasingly important market for U.S. technology, defense equipment and capital investment.
But if the growth in Asia’s third-largest economy has put motorcycles, modern apartments and other middle-class dreams within reach for millions, it is also leaving large numbers of Indians behind. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Mumbai, India’s most mashed-up megacity, where lavish penthouses with private pools overlook seas of tin-roofed shanties where half the 12 million residents live.