The Consulate General of India (CGI), Birmingham in association with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) of the University of Warwick organised a Business Seminar at their International Digital Laboratory on November 07, 2017. This was part of a week-long series of Business Seminars hosted by the Indian Consulate from 6-10 November 2017 to promote "Make in India" initiative of the Government of India and the "Access India Programme’’, developed recently by the High Commission of India (HCI), London to hand- hold and mentor British SME's to access India.
Prominent members of the business community, senior managers / representative of companies from a wide array of sectors, academics and students attended the event.
Welcoming the participants, Consul General of India, Dr. Aman Puri explained the potentials offered by the AIP initiative and urged the companies to take advantage of this opportunity. Access India, a newly launched market entry support programme, to be the first of its kind supporting UK businesses access the Make in India initiative of the Government of India. The programme solely is focussed on providing support to small and medium UK enterprises.
Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Chairman, WMG shared his views on India as an upcoming market offering skilled workforce and immense knowhow, and urged UK's SME's to look at the huge opportunity available in India, and to explore options to invest in India. He also stated that WMG already had many joint projects with Indian institutions and was keen to further its linkages with Indian institutions both in public and private sector. He mentioned about the significant presence of TATA motors and JLR researchers who were working on specific research projects at WMG in addition to several other Indian companies.
Mr. Vivek Abraham, Assistant Vice President from Invest India (which is the official investment promotion and facilitation agent of Government of India, mandated to facilitate investments into India), who came especially for this programme from India gave a highly informative and interesting presentation called ‘Transformation India’. Amongst other things he highlighted the bright prospects for potential investors in the future years, in India. He mentioned the various initiatives taken by the Government of India especially in the past 3 years like the Digital India, Skill India etc. On the subject of digital India he mentioned the interesting fact that India is now the 2nd largest Nation ‘on internet,’ at the same time it is the largest Nation which is still ‘not’ on the internet, thereby implying the untapped potential in this sector. He also mentioned about the Prime Minister’s ‘Public Wealth Scheme’ ‘Jan Dhan Yojna’ under which no frills basic bank account has been provided to a large section of the population. Talking on the subject of taxes, where a trader in India had to pay multiple taxes on goods moving from one state of the country to another, and had to go through several state border checkposts thereby causing tremendous delays. With the introduction of GST recently, all these check posts have now been removed ensuring free and speedy movement across the country.
Acting High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, Ambassador, Mr. Dinesh Patnaik in his address mentioned the huge economic policy transformations taking place in India since the last few years, he noted that SME's form the backbone of the British business sector, a large majority of whom still do not have international exposure. Therefore, the Government of India was keen to extend all possible help to them through the recently launched AIP initiative. He also mentioned about Indian Government's support to development of electric car industry by becoming a major buyer of electric cars for use by the Government's offices.
This was followed by a detailed presentation by Mr. Rahul Nangare, First Secretary (Trade), High Commission of India, London which focused on highlighting the user- friendly approach of the AIP initiative towards the companies interested in investing in India. He strongly urged British SME's to apply in AIP on www.accessindia.co.uk
Ms. Rita Hunt, Consultant, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), UK shared her experience of working with CII UK and noted that the Indian Business environment and the Governments attitude towards SME's have undergone massive transformation which makes it the right time for the UK SME's to come forward and seek help which is available at CII, free of cost.
Attendees of the Seminar shared their experiences and sought further insights during the Q&A session which was responded to by panellists Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik, Dr. Aman Puri, Mr Vivek Abraham and Ms Rita Hunt who answered a wide array of questions ranging from the issue of provisions for protection of intellectual property rights of SME's to initiatives of Government of India for promoting medical tourism and Ayurveda in Britain. The event was well attended and generated significant enthusiasm amongst participants about the initiative.
Members of HCI, London, CGI, Birmingham, Invest India team along with few other invited guests took part in a post event tour of the WMG Research & Development wing. During this highly informative tour visitors were shown the research work being undertaken by WMG, particularly in the fields of development of high efficiency batteries and development of critical components for electric and autonomous cars by using cutting edge technology to produce extremely realistic simulation of real life road conditions.