The UK Government today announced a bonanza for Indian students aspiring for admission to UK universities. A four-fold increase in the number of scholarships will open the doors to numerous Indian students for study in the UK.
This was announced by Dr. Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK, at an interactive session on ‘UK and India: Natural Partners for Investment’ organized by FICCI along with UK Trade & Investment and British Business Group.
He said that the UK government has also decided to set up an alumni fund. This fund has been raised to encourage Indian students to actively participate in alumni associations. The fund would be utilized to arrange return tickets and bear other expenses of the students who wish to participate in alumni activities and build their relationship further with the UK.
Dr. Cable also said that bilateral investments have been going well between India and the UK, as can be seen from the figures of last year, which was around Rs. 200 crore. However, there is still a lot of potential and scope to increase this figure. In terms of trade, he added that the UK is looking at doubling its trade volume with India by 2015.
He also said that many Indian expats are settled in the UK and are running successful businesses and contributing significantly to the economy. The UK looks at India as one of the most important allies and is looking ahead to strengthen this relationship.
Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, Immediate Past President, FICCI, said, “India and the UK are positioned strongly to build on the new momentum. FICCI is already spearheading focused initiatives in areas identified in its 10-point agenda defining FICCI’s ‘Engage UK’ work strategy that can serve as a valuable guiding force in enhancing our engagement.” She said that the ‘Make in India’ campaign launched by Prime Minister Modi factors in the imperative of attracting more export oriented FDI from the UK.
Manufacturing is the key to achieving this objective and should fire the imagination of all investors, including British companies, which are looking at an opportunity for collaboration for next-generation manufacturing products and processes. She said, “I am proud to tell you that FICCI in partnership with the Government of India, under the aegis of Invest India, would play a key role in facilitating such investments and you must make use of this institution.”Ms. Kidwai added that business was a key pillar of India-UK bilateral relationship and as India and the UK move towards taking the relationship to a qualitatively new level, it was important to raise the bar for our respective industries to reach out to each other to explore hitherto unexplored business opportunities.
Mr. Kevin Wall, Chairman, UK Corporate Banking & Vice Chairman, Investment Banking Barclays Bank Plc, said that it was important to outline that India is a vital partner of the UK and the relationship between the two is on a firm footing. Indian economy has opened up, hence bilateral relationship is also experiencing an upward trend. He added that the UK opens doors of the European market to India and a friendly and open economy eases investments for the Indian businesses to the UK. Also, the new FDI norms put in place by the Indian government has opened many avenues for the UK investors.
Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, underlined the growing importance of India’s business relations with the UK, stating that the businesses of the two countries would profit immensely by forging partnerships.
Dr. Arbind Prasad, Director General, FICCI and Managing Director, Invest India, made a presentation on the initiatives of ‘Invest India’, which is the country’s official agency dedicated to investment promotion and facilitation. This is a joint venture between FICCI, DIPP and State Governments of India. It provides granulated, sector-specific and state-specific information to foreign investors, assists in expediting regulatory approvals, and offers hand-holding services. Its mandate also includes assisting Indian investors make informed choices about investment opportunities overseas.
Mr. Steve Buckley, Asia Pacific Advisory, OCS Group; Mr. Karan Anand, Head of Relationships, Cox and Kings India Ltd and Ms. Harshita Singh, GM-Marketing and Communications, The Lalit Hotel, presented case studies on their respective businesses.
October 12, 2014