India can compete with China as supplier to world: Lord Paul

Pitching for removal of barriers that come in the way of setting up businesses in India, NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has said the country can compete with China as 'suppliers of the world'.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 22, 2015, 12:43 PM IST

London: Pitching for removal of barriers that come in the way of setting up businesses in India, NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has said the country can compete with China as 'suppliers of the world'.

Stating that non-resident investment was key to China's growth, he also urged the Indian government to give due importance to NRIs looking to invest in India, rather than classifying their capital inflows as foreign investments.

He said NRIs bringing in a certain amount of investment can be offered Indian citizenship by getting the necessary laws passed by Parliament, as a majority government has come into power after 30 years.

Paul, Chairman of the UK-based diversified conglomerate Caparo Group, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign has huge potential, if the government removes barriers that come in way of businesses.

"The initiative is very good. I think we need the machinery to see it through. If the Prime Minister can make sure that some of the problems which come in the way of setting up industries are removed, India has tremendous potential," Paul told PTI in an interview here.

The USD 2 billion Caparao group is present across 40 countries with a 10,000-strong workforce, while India accounts for over 15 per cent of its global business.

"I also believe that India should be competing, in a friendly way, with China as suppliers of the world," he said, while adding that his son and Caparo CEO Angad Paul has recently talked about the group expanding its footprint in India and for utilising it as an export base.

The Caparo Group Chairman also called for giving the due importance to the NRI investors.

"The non-resident investment, which helped the Chinese to start with, is still treated by India as foreign investment. The NRIs are even more loyal to India than even the residents because they bring in the money to India.

"Why not offer, as a gesture to NRIs, that those who invest a certain minimum amount of money will be offered Indian citizenship as a second passport. I know it needs a law by Parliament, but now the government has a majority after 30 years and they should utilise it."

On the first eight months of the Modi government, Paul said he is hoping for substantial changes over a five-year period, but it is not possible to expect any miracle in one or two years.

"We cannot afford this government to fail for the sake of India and for the sake of Indians because there are high hopes. While Modi is doing and saying the right things, there is no overnight solution to change the attitudes and the values.

"But my hope and wish is that he is able to make substantial changes in five years and that will be good for India. Do I expect any miracles in one or two years -- it is not possible," Paul said.

On the upcoming Budget, he said, "I am looking forward to the Budget. But again, do I expect miracles? No. Do I expect a very sensible Budget? I absolutely hope so."

Talking about the upcoming general elections in the UK, he said it would prove to be a wake up call for the country's three main political parties and they must get their act together.

Britain goes to the polls on May 7 and the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have been struggling to woo the voters.

"No party deserves to be a single-party government until they get their act together, nor in my view is there likely to be one," he said.

"The whole politics of this country has gone down," he said, while adding that things generally change when things go that down like it happened in India.