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British Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to boost Business Ties with India

May’s visit to India is intended to start the process of building bilateral trade ties as Britain prepares to leave the European Union

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, at the India-U.K Tech Summit in New Delhi, Nov. 7, 2016. VOA
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New Delhi, November 08, 2016: Calling Britain a committed and passionate champion of free trade, British Prime Minister Theresa May, is pitching for deeper business ties with India.

“It is why as Britain leaves the European Union, we are determined not to turn our backs on the world, but to forge a new outward looking role for ourselves,” the British leader said Monday in New Delhi as she began her first visit outside Europe.

May’s visit to India is intended to start the process of building bilateral trade ties as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed New Delhi’s concerns on tighter immigration laws that have adversely impacted Indian students and professionals in Britain, the British leader held out the possibility of a better visa deal for India.

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“The UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK,” May said after holding talks with Modi in New Delhi. She said, “The UK will continue to welcome the brightest and best of Indian students with latest figures showing that nine out of 10 applications are granted.”

She also announced a plan to grant easier access to business travelers from India.

Earlier, the Indian Prime Minister stressed that it would be important for Britain to allow for greater mobility of skilled professionals and students as the two countries seek to enhance trade in goods and services.

“Education is vital for our students and will define our engagement in a shared future. We must therefore encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities,” said Modi.

Immigration and diminishing visa numbers have become a sticking point between the two countries. British universities are a popular stop for Indian students, but in the past five years there has been a dramatic drop in the numbers attending due to restrictions on allowing students to stay in Britain after completing their studies. Indian businesses also say that increasing investments have to be linked to allowing freer movement of professionals.

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Chef Atul Kochhar (L) slices tomatoes at his Benares restaurant in Mayfair, central London, Jan. 21, 2015. VOA
Chef Atul Kochhar (L) slices tomatoes at his Benares restaurant in Mayfair, central London, Jan. 21, 2015. VOA

But with the vote for Brexit mandating curbs on immigration, officials said there would be no relaxation in numbers or criteria, only in the process.

Much of the visit focused on May’s mission to improve business links with the world’s fastest growing economy. Both countries have decided to set up a working group to lower barriers to trade and investment as they eye a free trade deal post-Brexit.

The British leader said business deals worth more $1.24 billion are set to be signed during her visit, which concludes Tuesday. She will also visit the Information Technology hub of Bengaluru, commonly known as Bangalore. May also said India’s plans to build scores of smart cities will unlock business worth $2.5 billion for British businesses.

Calling the potential of a relationship with India “limitless,” May described India as a leading power, and said Britain would back its bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

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In a reference to India’s growing tensions with Pakistan, Modi said he had conveyed to May the need for the international community to take strong action against states that support and sponsor cross border terrorism. (VOA)

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Unless There Is A Strategic Plan, Make In India Will Not Work

A strategic plan needs to be in execution to make "Make in India" successful

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FILE IMAGE- Mr. Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out an ambitious agenda when he announced his administration’s Make in India programme in September 2014. The centerpiece of that programme is the National Manufacturing Policy, the purpose of which is to make India a global manufacturing hub. Its intent is to increase manufacturing’s share of the country’s GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022 and to create 100 million additional jobs by that year.

The policy sets out 11 areas of concentration, including focus sectors, easing of regulatory environments and acquisition of technology and development. It identifies 25 specific focus sectors, including automobiles, defence equipment and medical technology.

The logo for "Make in India".
Make in India.

As Prime Minister Modi reported during the “Make in India week” in February 2016, progress had been made on the manufacturing agenda. Growth in manufacturing’s share of the GDP and employment since the introduction of the programme, however, has been quite sluggish.

That is why, in 2017, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Commerce issued a report questioning the impact and implementation of the Make in India initiative. The government’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion responded by citing a number of measures that had been taken. According to The Hindu newspaper, the committee stated that many of the measures were more than two years old and urged “the department to take effective steps to implement initiatives such as Make in India in a ‘more robust manner’…”

More recently, in mid-March, during a visit to India, American economist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman called attention to the need for India to hit manufacturing with a much bigger stick. After lauding India for its significant economic growth and becoming a better place to do business, Krugman observed: “India’s lack in the manufacturing sector could work against it, as it doesn’t have the jobs essential to sustain the projected growth in demography. You have to find jobs for people.”

Also Read: Tech Analysis: As More Indians Go Digital, Transparency in App’s Ecosystem A Must

As a knowledgeable Indian-American business person who participated in the India-U.S. CEO Roundtable convened during President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit in 2015, I concur completely with the need to intensify India’s manufacturing efforts. The right way to do that, in my opinion, is to create a manufacturing strategic plan for the nation and its states.

The Make in India’s National Manufacturing Policy outlines a broad range of initiatives covering a number of diffuse and diverse areas. A policy is not a plan. It is a prescription that must be targeted to achieve the desired end goals — in this instance, manufacturing being 25 per cent of the GDP and 100 million new jobs by 2022.

Prime Minister and logo of 'Make in India'
Narendra Modi along with ‘Make in India’ logo.

A well-constructed strategic plan provides the means for that targeting. It translates policy into action with a laser-beam focus. It delivers the keys to the kingdom. It identifies:

* Key Result Areas: The few areas (3-7) in which strategic action programmes must be developed and implemented effectively and efficiently.

* Key Drivers: The critical factors or sources of competitive advantage that can be leveraged for success.

* Key Partners: The top three allies who can contribute the most to achieving the plan’s goals.

The Make in India Manufacturing Strategic Plan should be crafted by an independent commission comprised of a representative cross-section of business, academic, government and other leaders with appropriate experience and expertise. The commission can draw upon the National Manufacturing Policy and multiple other studies and position papers as inputs for the plan.

My quick review of a variety of source material suggests the following as potential items for inclusion in that plan that might have great effect for simultaneously driving GDP growth and job creation:

* Key Result Area: Infrastructure Development. India’s infrastructure problems appear consistently as the most important factor that is retarding its growth potential.

* Key Driver: Automobile Manufacturing. The National Manufacturing Policy cites automobiles as an area in which India already has a competitive advantage that can be built upon.

* Key Partner: The United States. These “indispensable partners” have just begun to scratch the surface of trade arrangements and exchanges that can be mutually beneficial.

Also Read: Twitter India celebrates Tamil, Malayalam New Year with emoji

The Make in India programme is at a pivot point. The McKinsey Global Institute in an August 2016 report titled “India’s Ascent: Five Opportunities for Growth and Transformation”, observed: “India’s appeal to potential investors will be more than just its low-cost labour: manufacturers there are building competitive businesses to tap into the large and growing local market. Further reforms and public infrastructure investments could make it easier for all types of manufacturing.”

India continues its ascent, but not as quickly as intended. A Make in India Manufacturing Strategic Plan will kick on the after-burners and accelerate that ascent. Putting the right plan in place and implementing it properly should make the sky the limit for the Indian economy and the Indian people.  IANS

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