Reflections on Budget 2023: UKIBC CEO Dickie McCallum

By Richard McCallum

This year’s Budget and Economic Survey is another key indicator that India’s time is now and global businesses should take note. For the second year running, India will be the fastest growing major economy in the world – the strong investment plans and capital expenditure announced in the Budget, balanced with fiscal responsibility, makes for a positive year ahead.

The focus on technologies of the future like AI and 5G are prime examples. Funding for three centres of excellence for AI, as well as 100 labs for developing applications to use 5G services, is very welcome and indicative of India’s technological ambitions. Investment in digital technologies, alongside the incredible start-up and digital ecosystem already present and growing in the country, will help to put India at the forefront of global technologies as well as lending to benefits across the economy, healthcare, and education. UK businesses have deep expertise to contribute – policies centred on balanced data rules and regulatory requirements that take on board private sector needs would provide much confidence to international investors.

Green growth was another significant and welcome theme of Minister Sitharaman’s speech. India is progressing steadily in its energy transition and there is so much enthusiasm and opportunity for our countries to collaborate to take the transition to the next level. Extending priority sector lending to sustainable finance will enable foreign banks to leverage their considerable strengths for India. Supporting technology collaboration will be critical here too, as it will across other priority sectors like defence and security, which the UKIBC is actively working to foster longer term technology and hardware transfers between the UK and India.

There’s a tangible and tremendous confidence about India and its place in the world – you can feel it in the excitement around India’s G20 Presidency, where we look forward to see outcomes that delivers for businesses and people.

The UKIBC will continue to advocate for reforms that will help unlock the full potential of India’s growth agenda. We reiterate our continued commitment to advance prosperity and collaboration between the UK and India for global good.

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