The Economist has a cover story on India's recent acceleration in economic growth, and how irrational exuberance among excitable Indians has led to an unsustainable overheating and the risk of a correction.
One chart that I have sought for years is a comparison of the historical growth rates between India and China. This article had that chart, going back to 1974. Both nations had pathetic growth between 1950 and 1970 (and were indeed even poorer than most African nations at the time). Since 1980, however, China's lead over India has ranged from large to enormous, with India only (maybe) breaking away from the the 6% trendline now. As a result, China has gone from being poorer than India in the 1970s to having over twice the per capita income today. Even now, the narrowing of the gap is questionable at best, as India is amazingly unable to fully cash in on the democratic system that China lacks.
What prevents India from making common-sense reforms and infrastructure upgrades that the rest of the world has been telling them about for decades? India's cultural limitations are the primary reason - most of India's key politicians are over the age of 70 and hail from an era and ideology that produced little other than poverty, embarassment, and misery. Their passing will remove the ideological glass ceiling that prevents further reforms in India. When any country achieves faster economic growth, it is not just wealth that rises, but intellectual maturity, the quality and diversity of entertainment options, and safety rise as well. People even become taller and better looking after a generation of economic growth. I will write a much more colorful article on this subject in the future.
Update : CNNMoney has an article that is somewhat harsher, but some of the author's statements are poorly reasoned. Statements 'India has more HIV infected people than any other country' are meaningless unless taken as a percentage of the total population, in which India does not appear anywhere near the top of the list.
Update 2 : BusinessWeek also has an article.