The UK India Business Council congratulates Prime Minister Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its NDA partners on their victory in the Lok Sabha elections, and commits itself to working with the new Government towards a development-oriented and transformative future for the country.
With the elections held this year, India has witnessed record number of votes being case and has set an example in holding the world’s largest democratic election successfully.
Richard Heald, Chief Executive Officer of UKIBC said, “I would like to extend congratulations to the BJP and its allies. Their success – an unprecedented landslide – is a remarkable achievement, and business looks forward to the continuity and acceleration of the ease of doing business reform programme this outcome affords. There are immense complementarities between the UK and Indian economies, with UK businesses making a tremendous contribution to India’s growth story, and Indian businesses delivering likewise in the UK. We at the UKIBC are delighted to have worked with the Government of India over recent years to expand this partnership, whether it is through the India-UK CEO Forum, the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee, the Ease of Doing Business programme or the Access India Programme, which supports Make in India. The potential for greater success is huge – and we look forward to working closely with the new government to achieve industrial development, economic growth and prosperity.”
The UKIBC believes that this potential can be realised through a series of reforms that will accelerate India’s rise as a 21st century superpower, and fulfil the ambitions of every Indian for education, healthcare, and opportunity.
To achieve India’s social and economic ambitions, India’s Higher Education system needs to produce a whole range of skilled professionals on an unprecedented scale, while delivering excellence, equal access, expansion, and employability. This cannot be achieved alone, and the UKIBC encourages the Government of India to enable India’s higher education institutions to collaborate globally based on needs rather than ranking, which will attract the best of UK universities to support India’s rapid skill development.
Transforming India’s immense data cache into AI solutions will revolutionise sectors as diverse as healthcare, education, and agriculture. To deliver this revolution, the UKIBC encourages India to adopt of a sector-agnostic, intuitive, and transparent data protection framework enforced by an independent and tech-savvy Data Protection Authority. This will maximise trust and enable the UK and India to partner to lead the fourth industry revolution together.
These reforms in data and education will be a lynchpin in the success of delivering ‘Ayushman Bharat’. As Ayushman Bharat rapidly increases demand for pharmaceuticals, in order to augment supply, the UKIBC believes that India would benefit from learning from international best practice in designing a new regulatory framework for drug pricing. This could ensure pharmaceutical availability, encourage innovation, and ensure sustainably affordability for Indian citizens.
To continue the drive to stamp out corruption, the UKIBC encourages the Government of India to regulate sports betting by implementing the recommendations made by the Law Commission in 2018. If such regulation is passed, it would be decisive in restoring the integrity of sport, removing corruption, expanding the tax base, and stimulating more investment in the Indian economy.
Advancing the manufacturing sector in India promises to take India’s economy to the next level with significant job-generation potential. To this end, the UKIBC encourages the Government of India to comply with international arbitration decisions and develop a transparent, fair and lower tax regime. The UKIBC also encourages reform of the defence offset rules, which would encourage more investment and technology transfer to accelerate the indigenisation of India’s defence equipment.
Whilst significant and commendable ease of doing business reform has been achieved, there remains work to do to embed the efficiencies in the day to day workings of the bureaucracy. Indeed, UK investors in India have a clear view that Ease of Doing Business reforms introduced in the first NDA term, for example GST, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act, were all steps in the right direction. The priority for NDA 2 should be in embedding and expanding these reforms to truly make it easier for businesses to operate in India.
One sector where ease of doing business improvements would make a significant difference to India’s attractiveness as an investment destination is the Food and Drink sector. The UKIBC therefore encourages the Government of India to maintain the highest standards and simplify the licensing regime. This would attract investment, create jobs, enable tech transfer, and reduce costs and expand choice for Indian consumers.
In every sector, the UK stands to be a key partner in delivering the ambitions of India’s Government and its citizens. And the UK India Business Council looks forward to continuing its positive and mutually-beneficial partnership with the Government of India.