The numbers speak for themselves. In 2009, the Chinese government built or renovated 35 airports, threw open 4,640km of highways, laid out 5,200km of new rail lines, upgraded 264,000km of power lines and renovated 800,000 buildings for good measure.
This information was provided by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in the course of his speech to his country’s parliament, National People’s Congress, on Friday.
India has started to close the gap with China on many parameters such as growth rates and foreign direct investment. But there are few signs that the infrastructure gap is getting narrower. Wen’s speech is one reminder of this uncomfortable truth.
The year 2009 was an important one. China stimulated its economy with a huge burst of capital inves-tments while India chose to spend more on salaries and subsidies. The quality of the fiscal stimulus in the two countries was thus drastically different.
India continues to nurture a massive revenue deficit while it cuts essential capex.