Entrepreneurs with business interests in India are celebrating the ascension of Manmohan Singh, one of the country's top economists, to the prime minister's chair. Observers say that Singh's surprise election bodes well for entrepreneurship, both foreign and domestic. The former finance minister is credited with saving India's economy from collapse in the early 1990s, and then ushering in many of the reforms that have made the country a player in the global economy. "Singh was the guy who really kicked all this off," says Amit Maheshwari, CEO of i-Vantage, a Cambridge, Mass., outsourcing firm that has several offices and 300 employees in India.
Though Singh's Indian National Congress Party must rely on support from India's Communist parties to remain in power, his government's pro-business goals include continuing to liberalize the economy and extending India's nascent prosperity to the millions of rural Indians who still live in poverty. Improving the country's civic infrastructure is a top priority -- good news for foreign employers and investors.
"Getting the economy to serve more people and raise their standards of living is going to make for a much more stable situation," says Francine Frankel, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Advanced Study of India. "Businessmen should want this to succeed because if it does, they will have a stable and unified country that will welcome opportunity."