India Inc India Inc: Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:57

UK Companies welcome better business environment in India, with some caveats

UK Companies optimistic about the future, are somewhat impatient at the speed and implementation of reforms in India, a new report finds. 

On the back of the unprecedented 30-place jump made by India in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings from 130 to 100, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) presented a first-hand account from UK companies operating in the Indian market.

The ‘Doing Business in India Report: The UK Perspective’ concluded that UK business is largely positive about the changes that are being introduced by the Narendra Modi led government but is “somewhat impatient at the speed and implementation” of the reforms.

While just over half of respondents to UKIBC’s survey (51 per cent) said the business environment has improved, it is no surprise that the main barriers to doing business in India were highlighted as legal and regulatory impediments (63 per cent), corruption (34 per cent), and taxation issues (39 per cent). These factors, by their very nature, are slow-moving transformations that cannot be achieved overnight.

Telecommunication facilities, availability of skilled labour, and the ability of supply chain were rated as the strongest components of India’s business environment.

On the specific question of “Will GST aid the operating environment for businesses in India?”, almost half (46 per cent) said they “don’t know”, which comes as no surprise because it reflects the expected teething problems associated with one of the most daring and complex reforms to achieve one nation, one tax. 

UK businesses were in general agreement that a host of robust macro-economic factors, combined with proactive, business-friendly leadership, make India a compelling destination in which to do business, both now and in the long-term. 

And, it is with this long-term view in mind that India Inc. is hosting UK-India Week in June 2018 to explore how UK companies can take full advantage of the changing Indian market. Setting aside pre-conceived notions, adopting a patient approach, and connecting with the right people would be a good way to start.


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