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January 30, 2004

GDP growth is estimated at a stunning 8 percent-plus.

Foreign exchange reserves are at over $103 billion.

The stockmarket is going through the roof.

Check out the mushrooming malls, improving telecom connectivity, booming industry.

A great monsoon last year has heralded greater growth.

The government has ambitious plans to link rivers, to build superhighways -- both concrete and wireless, criss-crossing the nation.

A South Asia Free Trade Agreement has been created.

Plus radical economic and strategic pacts with the United States, the European Union, and Southeast Asia.

There is no better time to be an Indian, declares Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The nationwide media blitz -- India Shining -- would have us believe that we are now looking at a resurgent India, an economic and military powerhouse striding firmly towards its rightful place in the world.

But there are many who disagree.

Global corporations cite corruption, red tape, high inflation, poor laws and an infirm infrastructure as reasons for their not wishing to invest in India.

Opposition parties call it a pre-election gimmick.

Economists say many million Indians still do not have access to potable water, electricity, decent housing or even good roads.

And literacy rates are appalling.

Foreign policy pundits compare India unfavourably with China's phenomenal rate of growth and environmentalists point to the growing ecological ravages due to unchecked industrial growth.

Is India really shining?

Why do you think so?

Do you think the 'feel good' factor sweeping India is more imaginary than real?

What does India need to do to become an economic superpower?

Tell us.

The world wants to hear you.

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