UK India Business Council submits recommendations towards continued progress on ease of doing business in India

By Kealan Finnegan

In a continued spirit of partnership, the UK India Business Council has submitted, on behalf of businesses, a list of constructive recommendations that we believe will further improve India’s business environment, stimulate new investment across states, and ultimately generate greater economic development and prosperity in India.

The submission is based on detailed feedback from 10 of the largest UK companies with a presence in India and highlights key issues based on their experiences on the ground. All businesses interviewed were optimistic about the business environment in India and share ambitions to strengthen and expand investment across the country to contribute to India’s exciting USD 5 trillion ambition.

The UKIBC released a public summary report based on the formal submission. In the report, recommendations cover a wide range of issues including reduction of unnecessary bureaucracy, simplifying legal and regulatory complexities and taxation, developing world class IP and infrastructure environments, and enshrining investor protection. Further issues raised include land acquisition difficulties, contract enforcement and banking/lending reforms.

The issues cut across sectors, with the businesses interviewed spanning banking and financial services, food and drink, education, consumer goods, energy, and advanced engineering and manufacturing. Combined, these businesses employ tens of thousands of people throughout the country and are keen to increase their investment, owing greatly to the rich talent, innovation and growth potential of India.

UKIBC Chair Richard Heald said: “Over 600 UK companies are deeply established in India, with a combined turnover of approximately INR 3,634 billion (GBP 40 billion) and employing around 466,000 employees. Especially pleasing is that these figures are growing, primarily due to two key reasons: the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and 2030 Roadmap has given a clear direction to future relations, and, secondly, the hugely positive policies of the Government of India creating a business environment attractive to investors and conducive to growth. Indeed, earlier this year, UK and Indian businesses announced more than GBP 1 billion in new investments and export deals in areas from software engineering to electric vehicles to healthcare.

To further catalyse this positive momentum and for India to realise its real potential, it is vital that the Government of India continues to focus on Ease of Doing Business, a key metric for any global business. UK businesses want to increase their investments in India so as to play an even more important role in India’s development story. I invite all stakeholders of the bilateral relationship to read the Report.”

UK Deputy Director, Trade & UK Exports, South Asia, Ajita Hathlia said: “With India projected to become the world’s third largest economy by 2050, I hope this report will stimulate discussions that will lead to India becoming an even more compelling proposition for British businesses.”

Working in partnership with businesses, the Government of India and State Governments have taken many positive steps in recent years to make India an easier place to do business and a more attractive destination for investment. From the introduction of GST, to the reduction of the corporate tax rate, to stripping-out bureaucracy, we applaud Governments across India on this important and successful work.

The UKIBC thanks the Government of India for its ongoing dialogue with business to help to deepen the bilateral ties of India and the UK and to promote growth and prosperity across both countries. We look forward to working with our partners across the Central and State Governments in India.

The report is available via the UKIBC website here.

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