More people can also
read and write with literacy rate zooming from 12 per cent in
1947 to 81 per cent today.
With more cash in hand, per capita income going up from $410
in 1998 to $1,680 today, it is time to splurge.
After all, India is a three-trillion-dollar economy now.
This massive demand fuels massive supply.
Twenty years ago, my driver rode a cycle.
Then he bought a scooter and now with his expanding family,
he owns a small car.
Until 1984, India has just two makes of motor cars,
Ambassador (Morris) and Padmini (Fiat).
The Maruti Suzuki was introduced in 1984 and after Hyundai
launched Santro in 1998, there was no looking back.
All major car makers are competing in India and most of them
assemble or manufacture their vehicles and also export them.
Today, you can buy Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Jaguar and other
premium makes with a host of mid-sized and compact cars.
And Indian car manufacturers, Tata and Mahindra, are holding
their own against global giants.
It’s the same story with white goods.
My driver owns a big TV, a fridge, his daughter has a laptop
and his son a motor bike.
Famines have not made news for decades.
These days, it’s over supply as farmers want better prices or
face drought or floods.
Twenty years ago, milk was in short supply during the long
Ice cream sales are brisk during the hot season.
Imported liqueur, connoisseur foods and health foods are
Restaurants from fine dining to roadside stalls are booming.
Despite all the regulations, eateries sprout up every week in
major cities as people like to dine out.
An evening out in the Nineties meant going to the cinema and
Now, families motor to malls with multiplexes for the latest
Hollywood movies, dine at food courts and perhaps pick up
something from the glittering shops.
Indians travel more often, not only by road and railway but
also by air.
New and more airports built in the last ten years are already
bursting at capacity as many private carriers ply the
sub-continent and the aviation sector expands by a whopping
15-20 per cent annually.
An estimated 25 million Indians flew abroad in 2017 up from a
meager eight million a decade ago. World Tourism Organisation
predicts 50 million Indians will travel overseas in 2020.
Now cruise tourism is becoming popular.
The super-rich Indians outclass each other in grandeur and
scale of their weddings and parties both in India and abroad.