India seeks investment from Britain in infra, NMIZs

India Friday sought investments from Britain in sectors like infrastructure to enhance economic ties between the countries.

New Delhi: India Friday sought investments from Britain in sectors like infrastructure to enhance economic ties between the countries.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is in London for Investment Round Table meeting, said foreign direct investment flows from the UK into India as a percentage of Britain's global outward FDI amount to only one per cent.

CEOs who were present in the round table include BAE Systems Global Head, Audit, Andrew Gallagher; Diageo plc CEO Paul Walsh; Deutsche Bank UK CEO Colin Grassie; JCB Philip Director Bouverat; Lloyd's Deputy Chairman Graham White and Standard Chartered Asia Chairman Sir Thomas Harris.

An Indian official present in the meeting said Sharma has invited businessmen from Britain to invest in India.

India has emerged as a major investor in Britain and the Indian companies have invested USD 19.92 billion in UK.

"This proves the point that a lot more needs to be done to harness the potential of the two countries for the mutual benefit of their peoples," the official said.

Sharma informed the business leaders that the recent economic reforms have made the country extremely attractive to FDI and portfolio investments.

"Be it automobiles, telecom, insurance, banking or consumer goods, rural India will, to a great extent, be the future driver of growth. No investor can afford to ignore this huge opportunity," he said.

The minister has also sought investments in setting up of National Manufacturing Investment Zones (NMIZs). NMIZs will have world-class infrastructure for industries.

"We welcome foreign investors to partner with us in establishment of these townships and investing in manufacturing. 12 of these townships stand notified and master planning has been completed in respect of 8 zones along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor," the official added.

The minister has also informed that the government was conscious of the need for harmonisation of the taxation regime, which will create unified market and facilitate greater competition and reduce transaction costs.

"The Finance Minister is seriously engaged in discussion with States for introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and Direct Tax Code. Financial sector laws are being rewritten in order to bring them in harmony with global best practices," the official said.

Meanwhile, Tesco Non-executive Chairman Sir Richard Broadbent is expected to meet Sharma again on the issue of multi-brand retail.

Broadbent had earlier met Sharma on the sidelines of WEF at Davos and desired further clarity on the FDI policy in retail sector. Tesco is keen to open multi-brand retail stores in India.