GLOBAL INVESTORS once fell in love with India’s growth “story” because of people like Shanmuga Subramanian. Educated in mechanical engineering, he became a computer programmer, working with Cognizant, an outsourcing firm, and Lennox, which makes heaters and air-conditioners. But that was not enough to exhaust his technological enthusiasms. He recently devoted four days of his spare time to scrutinising images of the Moon’s surface, provided by NASA, searching for any sign of an Indian moon lander that disappeared in September. He eventually spotted an incongruously bright pixel, which NASA this week confirmed was debris from the craft’s crash-landing.
Unfortunately, India’s growth story is in danger of repeating the lander’s ill-fated trajectory. The explanation offered by India’s space agency for the crash (“the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value”) might apply equally well to the economy. GDP grew by just 4.5% in the 12 months ending in September. That is the slowest pace since 2013 (see chart).