Make in India initiative sets Luxembourg in its sights

Doing business in India is getting easier thanks to “Make In India”, a new initiative aimed at removing obstacles for potential investors.

That was the clear message being sent out at an Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg panel discussion held on Thursday.

“Make In India is a mindset, it's a philosophy, it's an interest and it's an initiative to encourage manufacturing in India,” Indian Ambassador to Luxembourg and Belgium Manjeev Singh Puri said, introducing the topic.

The initiative covers 25 priority sectors, ranging from energy to IP, and is supported by government reforms making it easier for foreign firms to do business in India.

These include, among others, infrastructure improvements, the removal of bureaucractic delays, simplification of policies, for example in relation to labour law, land, environment and power supply and clarification of taxation regulations.

Photo Tania Feller

Players in most sectors

For Luxembourg, which already has a longstanding history of investment in India, this will open doors for greater investment, Luxembourg Ambassador to India Sam Schreiner said.

“I think our economy is small but diversified. I think we've players in almost all the sectors we see (as part of Make in India).

In his speech, IBCL President Sudhir Kohli highlighted what he saw as potential areas for Luxembourg investors to work with India, thanks to the initiative.

They included provision of leading edge products and services, advanced technology, sales networks, component manufacture, producing product variants for the Indian market and providing energy solutions.

Concrete proposals discussed by the panel included the creation of a special purpose vehicle for investing in energy.

Photo Tania Feller

“We should explore with Luxembourg for Finance and see on the ground how to get approval for such a vehicle to operate in India,” Mr Schreiner said, adding: “Because everyone knows how important funds are as a Luxembourg sector. So far they can't be sold directly in the Indian market. There's a huge potential. We've trillions under management in Luxembourg and India needs capital.”

Challenges

The challenges of doing business in India were not entirely overlooked.

Francis Michaud, senrior manager marketing for Paul Werth SA was very transparent about the problems his company had encountered. He talked of the administrative hurdles, local regulations and tax regulation.

“Because of the size of the country, we know some projects are jeopardised because of the infludence of local authorities or because of social factors. Because of the specificity in the provinces, or in cities, you can't always go as fast as you would like,” he said.

Mr Puri said that much of the reforms that came with the initiative would address these issues. For the remainder, some would depend on the content of the next budget, to be published on February 28.

“I think this will be a budget that will certainly move things. It will incentivise growth, it will add to infrastrucutre and it will make it easier to do manufacturing in Indian and help other sectors,” he said.

The next IBCL event takes place on April 21, looking at the new investment opportunities in India as a result of the new budget.

www.ibcl.lu

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