UK-India Business Leader Says Doing Business in India Has Become Easier

UK-India Business Leader Says Doing Business in India Has Become Easier

The Times of India  interviewed Patricia Hewitt, Chair, U.K. India Business Council, the business-led organization that works with the British government to promote bilateral trade between the U.K. and India.

She said in the interview that “the election of the Narendra Modi government, with a decisive mandate for growth and development, has already cheered consumers and investors and boosted the growth rate. Red tape has started to reduce and states are competing to create a pro-business and pro-job environment.”

Patricia Hewitt
Patricia Hewitt

Commenting on the road-blocks such as poor infrastructure and over-regulation that still existed, she said that the Indian government had already identified these and had started to address them, and welcomed the new government’s emphasis on building a new strategic partnership between the center and the states, with “co-operative and competitive federalism”. She mentioned that the leadership of several outstanding and experienced officials including Raghuram Rajan at India’s central bank, Sindhushree Khullar at the National Institution for Transforming India, and Amitabh Kant at the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion created a virtuous circle of growth and good governance.

Discussing the 2016 budget recently announced by the government, Hewitt said, “I would give the recent budget – minister Arun Jaitley‘s first full budget – high marks. The clear commitment to GST, with a firm start date of April 2016, is particularly welcome – as we know from our experience in the European Union, the creation of a true single market will itself accelerate growth and job creation.”

On the subject of India-U.K. businesses, she disclosed that U.K. ranked #1 in the G20 and accounted for 10% of all investment into India in the last 14 years. Bilateral visible trade also grew from 2008 to 2013 by almost 50% from approximately  $16.5billion to $25 billion (at current rates). More than 700 U.K. companies operate, process, assemble, and manufacture in India, while India is one of the biggest investors in the U.K. and invests more in the U.K. than it invests in the rest of Europe combined, she added. Over half of the 41 fastest-growing Indian companies are in the pharmaceuticals and chemicals (22%) and technology and telecoms (32%) sectors.

On a different note, Patricia Hewitt is an active supporter of Katha, an NGO that is transforming the lives of children and their families in Delhi’s slums. Although her efforts to learn Hindi have not been very successful, she wowed an  investors’ summit held by the government of Gujarat in January 2013 with her speech in the state language of Gujarati!


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