India’s Minister of IT, Law & Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, outlined his vision for India as a land of digital opportunities for UK investment at an Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) event at Asia House.
The Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) gathered at Asia House, London, on 9th July to hear Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for IT, Law & Justice in the Indian Government, outline India’s digitisation efforts, which are estimated to add $154 billion to the country’s GDP by 2021 and present a huge opportunity for UK-based investors. During his speech, Minister Prasad urged UK companies to make use of an open foreign direct investment (FDI) regime in the IT sector to engage with one of the world’s “biggest markets”.
Minister Prasad’s speech, entitled ‘India: A Land of Digital Opportunities’, came in the context of the April 2018 launch of the UK-India Tech Partnership and the UK Government’s commitment to strengthening trade links between the countries in the post-Brexit period.
According to a recent IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft, the digital transformation of products and services in India will account for over 55% of the country’s GDP by the turn of the decade. Minister Prasad expanded on this incredible growth and shone a light on the landscape for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Relations between the UK and India in this thriving area, and in others, are already strong with long histories of collaboration. For example, the UK has been, and remains, the single largest G20 investor in India, and supports close to 800,000 jobs, according to the CBI’s second Sterling Assets India report. Between 2000 and 2016, the UK invested $24.07 billion in India – increasing its investment by $1.87 billion between 2015 and 2016 – representing 8% of all FDI into the country. In 2015 alone the UK exported £358 million of digital services to India, and, more recently, as part of the UK-India Tech Partnership and Start-Up India Initiative, it committed £160 million to 75 Indian-based enterprises.
India, meanwhile, is the third largest foreign investor into the UK, setting up 320 projects and creating 38,827 jobs in the country in the last year alone. According to recent figures, sourced by London and Partners, there are approximately 800 Indian companies operating in the UK, with combined revenues of £46.4 billion (£47.5 billion in 2017) and employing 104,932 people.
After Minister Prasad’s speech at Asia House, the IPF event sponsor Pontaq launched a new UK India Innovation Fund (UIIF) in his presence with the aim of creating a sustainable economic impact in the UK-India corridor by enabling the creation of at least 2500 jobs with the £50 million fund.
This new fund will predominantly invest in UK-centric businesses in the areas of FinTech (including RegTech and InsurTech), Smart Cities Tech (comprising technologies in energy, waste, water and transport) and Emerging Technologies (IoT, AR/VR, AI/ML and Blockchain to name a few). The UIIF will also look at innovative companies coming out of India that are looking to expand in UK and other western markets.
In his speech, Minister of IT, Law & Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad said:
“India's digital economy is poised for great growth. It is a land of digital opportunities and we are working towards making digital empowerment a mass movement.”
“The UK-India relationship is politics neutral. It is very robust and stable, with a new ecosystem laid by the last visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UK with the UK-India Tech Alliance.”
IPF President, Dr Mohan Kaul said:
“It is clear that Industry 4.0 is creating ever-more opportunities for the UK and India to partner – with the adoption of AI, robotics, blockchain, data analytics, and other digital services, providing new platforms for collaboration between our great nations. This could not come at a better time for Britain with Brexit looming. As one door closes, another must open.
“At the IPF, we try to open those doors and look at ways to harness new ideas that will benefit our societies and economies.
“The IPF provides a powerful voice to our members and is a leading platform for debate. There are enormous opportunities for the diaspora to participate – and it is our job to act as a focus for their ideas, to provide feedback, and to help them forge new and successful partnerships”.
Founding Partner of Pontaq, Prem Barthasarathy said:
“I’m delighted, with my colleagues at the IPF, to be launching the new UK-India Innovation Fund (UIIF)
“We believe this fund, which has an initial capital round of £50 million, will engender closer collaboration and pave the way for a much stronger technology transfer between the UK and India – to the benefit of both economies.”