Progress in India, an update

India is developing fast. I haven’t been for two years before this trip to Delhi, Udaipur and Jaipur.

The place is impressive.

Here is what I saw

– Indian elites are thrilled about Moti. Best leader in 30 years. “And this time, he has a platform of technology and economic activity to really capitalize.” These guys are optimistic.

– New, good airports for international and domestic in Delhi and Udaipur and Bangalore and Mumbai that I have seen

– A Metro in Delhi. They are ahead of LA. It comes near the airport.

– National Highways in some places.

– The taxis produce no smoke. All gas not gasoline/diesel

– The old taxi fleet – very 70s – looks about 50% replaced with fuel efficient cars of post 2000 ages.

– Everyone has a mobile phone. A third seem to have smartphones. Reminds me of 2008 in the US.

– Much reduced street poverty. Didn’t see any cripples or lepers laying about as was once a scourge of the streets. (Still lots of animals though.)

– Every city has a new district with glass office towers and good parking and grass and better roads – I saw this in Jaipur and Delhi and others.

– The Five Star hotels are outstanding. The Four Stars are fine.

– The “touts” or street hawkers and salesmen that once mobbed you everywhere you went are massively managed — there seem to be highly effective clear zones at airports and hotels and monuments. (One exception was at the Rail Station where tourists just shouldn’t go anyway. Not charming. Old and horrible.)

– Newspaper reports major new policies to support solar (25 new large plants in 5 years), upgrade women’s treatment and rights in office and streets against harassment, simplify tourist visas to make them instant (no more visa offices!), simplify business permits to make them 100% online, and simplify the tax structure and reduce the superhigh marginal rates. All amazing and sensible reforms that attack the “it is a hassle to do business in India” issues that have been terrible for my businesses in the past.

– Uber works here.

– My T-Mobile plan had free roaming data here.

– Credit cards mostly work everywhere. I used only $125 US total for a week in cash (around Rupees 10,000)