The latest reforms to India’s foreign investment regulations are significant because they tackle sensitive sectors that the government has previously been reluctant to liberalize. But concerns persist over the scope of the changes and the speed of their implementation, Ben Frumin reports from New Delhi

On a small plot in the Dwarka district of Delhi sits the hulk of an Airbus A300 jet. The plane has only one wing and hasn’t flown in years. But that doesn’t mean it’s not making its owner any money. BC Gupta, a former Indian Airlines engineer, bought it for about US$200,000 in 2003. He then sold the engines (for almost the same amount) and sawed off one wing and a significant piece of the plane’s tubular fuselage so that the remainder could fit onto his small plot.

Today, aspiring air hostesses and aeronautical engineering students train on the grounded plane. School groups visit for mock flights and simple lessons on aviation. The urban poor flock in at weekends and sit in awe, pretending they’re airborne. For most, it’s the closest they’ll ever come to a real flight.

Perhaps only in India – where there is a deluge of investment opportunities in the expanding aviation sector – could a man gross US$20,000 a month from a plane that doesn’t even fly. “It is very good money,” says Gupta with a smile.

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