Read what happened on 8th December 2017, when the UK and EU Commission recommended jointly that sufficient progress had been made in Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations, and European Council President Donald Tusk set out draft guidelines for next steps for talks.
20 December 2017
CBI India Update December 2017
Read all about the current Indian economic and political trends and the visit of the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to India in this edition of CBI India Update December 2017.
Friday, the 8th of December 2017, will go down as a significant date in the UK-EU Brexit negotiations’ history when both sides published a joint report confirming agreement on the key issues of citizens’ rights, UK relationship with Ireland and the financial settlement. This meant sufficient progress had been made in phase 1 of the negotiation process, with the European Council President Donald Tusk setting out draft guidelines for next steps.
On the vital question of future trade and transition, the joint paper states both sides seek “agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangement”. If agreed, transitional arrangements would increase certainty and provide a period of time for businesses and regulators on both sides of the Channel to adapt to any new future economic relationship between the UK and the EU. See a summary and a detailed CBI report on the ‘The business view of Brexit’.
The CBI India office was involved with the India visit of London Mayor Mr Sadiq Khan in early December. This included moderation of round tables for the Mayor’s International Business Programme (MIBP) delegates in Mumbai and inviting select members for a business dinner at the residence of the British High Commissioner to India Sir Dominic Asquith. See related pictures and video.
British visas, meanwhile reported a sharp increase in numbers to Indians. According to the UK Office for National Statistics’ regular report, visas granted to Indian nationals in the year to September 2017 stood at 517,000 – a 9% increase on the previous year. Within this number, visit visas increased by 11% to 427,000 and work visas remained steady at 53,000 – meaning that Indians still get more work visas for employment in the UK than all other nationalities combined.
Back in India, the country woke up to a new dawn of triple positives- a 30-place jump on Ease of Doing Business rankings by the World Bank to the 100th position, an improved credit rating from Baa3 to Baa2 by Moody’s Investor Services after 14 years and a GDP growth rate registering an upturn. After about five quarters of dipping growth rates, India bounced back to an enhanced growth rate of 6.3% in the quarter ending September 2017, up from a low of 5.7% restoring confidence about the resilience of the Indian economy. Read more
These developments will go a long way in improving the international perception about India. The economy bounced back after the sobering double doses of structural economic reforms - demonetisation and introduction of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), taken between November 2016 and July 2017.
Election results for the state assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were announced earlier this week. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won both the elections and is set to form the government in both these states. While the BJP swept the polls in Himachal Pradesh, it faced a tough challenge from the Congress, the main opposition party at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat where he had been elected chief minister for three straight terms between 2002 to 2014. Read more.
Besides the elections, one more significant development in India’s political scenario was the elevation of 47-year old Mr Rahul Gandhi as the President of the Indian National Congress, the country’s main opposition party. He replaces his mother Mrs Sonia Gandhi who served as the Congress President for the last 19 years, who led the country’s oldest political party through its strongest and weakest phases. Under her leadership, the Congress formed the government twice in 2004 and 2009 and lost to the BJP under the current Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi in 2014. Read about Mr Rahul Gandhi’s first speech as President.
Here are some important highlights of the month:
Indian retailers question relaxing norms for foreign retailers
As the Indian government starts to adopt international norms for labelling of retail products for foreign retailers, this move is being questioned by its domestic retailers. Read more.
Business confidence rises in third quarter of 2017-18
On the back of the economic upturn, business confidence returns, says the Confederation of Indian Industry. Read more.
India to host WTO meeting in February 2018
To muster support for agriculture prices and food security, India will call a meeting of some like-minded WTO members in February 2018. Read more.
UK university project to build solar power stations in India
A consortium of 12 British and Indian universities led by Swansea University in Wales has got £7 million of UK government funding to build five self-sufficient solar-powered buildings in remote Indian villages. The project is called SUNRISE, and will be integrated into buildings in at least in five villages of India, allowing them to harness solar power to provide their own energy and run off grid.
CBRE expects institutional investment in India's real estate
India's real estate sector will see inflow of institutional investment including from foreign players over next 5 to 10 years, says CBRE India and Southeast Asia Chair Anshuman Magazine. Read more.
TCS wins two awards in the Forbes 2017 Global 2000 list
Tata Consultancy Services has been ranked among the Top Regarded Companies and the World’s Best Employers in the 2017 Global 2000 list. Read more.
Infosys to create 250 new technology jobs in Ireland
Infosys will expand its operations in Ireland, doubling the number of staff in the country to 500 in three years and setting up its first product-centric research and development centre outside India. Read more.
ON THE RADAR
Focus Nepal: New geopolitical realities
The former Himalayan kingdom finally makes its transition to a federal democratic republic. The outcome of the historic parliamentary and provincial elections early this month resulted in a comfortable victory for the Left alliance. India which has been Nepal’s closest ally in this transition may view the outcome with misgiving by its ideological closeness to China. Nepal is part of China’s gigantic One Belt One Road Initiative, something that India has kept itself away from, due to security reasons. Retaining its influence in a key neighbour might turn out challenging for India in the coming years. Read more.
Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas and a sparkling New Year 2018!