What India’s Changing Face Means for ETFs

April 16th at 11:00am by Tom Lydon

India is a country in transition – its population is booming, they’re trying to feed it, the country is getting more attention globally and it’s in the midst of a five-week long election process. What will these changes mean for their exchange traded funds (ETFs)?

Since the 1960s-1970s, farmers in the state of Punjab have been part of a “Green Revolution”, backed by advisers from the United States and other countries. Indian farmers started growing crops the American way — with chemicals, high-yield seeds and irrigation. But recent studies indicate that this old method is going to collapse under pressure, reports Daniel Zwerdling for NPR.

Apparently, the lack of water and the endless search for this element to continue irrigation is the major problem farmers are facing when dealing with their crops. When India’s government launched the Green Revolution more than 40 years ago, it pressured farmers to grow only high-yield wheat, rice and cotton instead of their traditional mix of crops.

The study and method was successful for a time period, however, farmers have pumped so much groundwater to irrigate their crops that the water table is dropping dramatically, by as much as three feet every year.

Meanwhile the elections are upon the Indians and voters will be headed to the polls to elect a new national parliament. They have done this 14 times since India gained independence in 1947. Another hindrance to the food supply is India’s out-of-control population, which also allows India to break their own records for electoral democracy.

Shashi Tharoor for The Globe and Mail reports that the electorate includes 714 million voters, an increase of 43 million over the previous general election in 2004. Votes will be cast in 828,804 polling stations scattered throughout the country for more than 5,000 candidates from seven national political parties and several state and other parties. The election will be staggered over 5 phases ending May 13.

  • WisdomTree India Earnings (EPI): up 16.8% year-to-date

  • PowerShares India (PIN): up 15.4% year-to-date

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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