MIDC keen to continue to improve the business environment in Maharashtra on the back of UKIBC Doing Business in India Report 2019

By Kealan Finnegan

As part of UKIBC’s launch of our 5th Doing Business in India Report, UKIBC’s Kevin McCole and Abhay Sen, and three of our members, met with Mr P Anbalagan, CEO of the  Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).

We were also able to exhibit the UK’s commitment to the State by noting that this meeting kick-started two weeks of UKIBC interaction in Maharashtra, which includes a delegation from the Sheffield City Region to Pune and Mumbai and a delegation of higher education institutions to Mumbai. And the meeting initiated UKIBC planning for the Magnetic Maharashtra Summit which will take place in February 2020.

Dr P Anbalagan and his team were encouraged by the findings of the report, in particular that Maharashtra was ranked as the best state in India in which to do business by UK companies.

Dr Anbalagan spoke of the state’s determination to attract both domestic and foreign investments, and he agreed that it is vital to keep on improving the ease of doing business to attract more investment.

As our report testifies, the hands-on approach of the Government of Maharashtra has given confidence to businesses to enter or expand existing investments in the State, with UK companies selecting Maharashtra as the most popular state in which they are expanding operations or, for those not yet active in Maharashtra, to enter in the next twelve months. In the face of stiff international competition and increasing competition from other Indian states, this attentive approach to investors issues is proving to be a critical success factor.

UKIBC members Pernod Ricard India and HSBC, and UKIBC India Board member Vandana Poria of The Human Alarm Clock gave a first-hand overview of the business environment that UK companies have faced in India.

An important discussion area was the need for an international airport in Pune for the city to thrive and grow further given its significance. As per the MIDC, this is still on the cards, but the international airport being built at Navi Mumbai, about 90 minutes drive from Pune and which is due to open in 2020, will be a boost to Pune

The issue of obtaining permissions from the Maharashtra Excise Department was raised as one area where several states are performing better than Maharashtra.  The MIDC welcomed the feedback and plan to engage with his colleagues to explore a more streamlined service.

Given Mumbai’s consolidated standing as India’s financial capital, there was discussion about creating a regulatory sandbox to stimulate UK-Mumbai collaboration on fintech, which would draw-in investments from tech-rich UK fintech start-ups.

In advance of the UKIBC’s higher education delegation, there was a discussion on employability skills and there was a broad agreement that the Government of Maharashtra needs to work with the private sector for enhancing and skills development.  It is vital that India aligns its education sector with the job market to ensure that graduates are qualified to contribute to India’s economic growth.

The positive findings of our Doing Business in India Report, for India generally and in particular for the state of Maharashtra is encouraging. The continued endeavour of MIDC to listen to this feedback and work to shape the business environment in light of UK companies’ reform priorities is even better still.

As part of these efforts to improve the ease of doing business in Maharashtra, UKIBC will bring a UK business delegation to the Magnetic Maharashtra Summit in February 2020 to hold talks with the Chief Minister. We will also explore how to use this Summit to showcase the brilliant work UK businesses do in the state to create a positive socio economic impact.

Additionally, UKIBC will continue to work with the Government of Maharashtra and our members to help to develop the state’s business environment, making it easier to do business for UK companies, and contributing to socio-economic development across the state.

To read the Doing Business in India Report 2019 in full, click here

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