#June 2017, #Global Indian

Dr Jyotsna Suri is a stalwart in the Indian hotel industry, who recently expanded her group’s footprint to the UK with The Lalit London. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with this jet-setting Global Indian to get her views on Indian hospitality and its worldwide impact.

Please give your overview on the Indian hotel industry and its growth patterns over recent years.

The Indian hotel industry has been on an upswing in the last few years. The improvement in infrastructure and increase in spending power has resulted in growth of domestic travel as well as influx of inbound travel. Tourism growth has outpaced the GDP growth in the last few years, and this trend is projected to continue.

#June 2017, #India-UK

India’s strong economic fundamentals, low inflation and interest rates on a declining trend are ideal for bond investors, writes a financial markets expert.

London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official business development company, has long been focusing on attracting inward investments into London, which is arguably the cultural and business capital of the world. This initiative, which started well before Brexit, sought to reinforce London as the gateway between America and Asia. It could become very important for London if it loses access to the Passport to European Financial after the UK exits the European Union (EU).

#Special Edition – May 2017, #Last Word

A US Federal Reserve report forecasts that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has the potential to hike India’s GDP by nearly $100 billion.

The US Federal Reserve has confirmed what many people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, have been saying for a long time.

Countering nay-sayers, they have maintained that the Goods & Services Tax (GST), which will come into force from July 1 this year, will push India into a higher growth trajectory and improve India’s GDP growth rate to 8 per cent and beyond.

Now, an International Financial Discussion Paper (IFDP) at the US Federal Reserve (FED) has calculated that the rollout of GST could increase India’s GDP by Rs 6.5 lakh crore ($100 billion) or 4.2 per cent. It did not mention the time frame by which this will be achieved. The additional output is almost double the government’s borrowing programme of Rs 3.48 lakh crore ($54 billion) for the current financial year.

#Putting it in context, #April 2017

It may be time to anoint New Delhi as a hub for a reimagined Commonwealth, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

This week the Commonwealth Secretariat has launched a report which claims that if the UK and India sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), this could boost bilateral trade by a staggering 26 per cent. I am somewhat sceptical about the speed at which an FTA could be agreed and the figures. But nonetheless any moves in this direction is positive. It is also here that the larger canvas of the Commonwealth could provide a fillip to a much more meaningful UK-India relationship of the future. There are, however, some practical and emotional hurdles to overcome before we get there.

For instance, India has been Independent for 70 years but even now some quarters in the country are still very prickly when it comes to discussions on the colonial era and India’s relations with the UK. Fortunately, such mindsets are fast becoming a thing of the past as the post-Cold War, post-9/11, post-Brexit world gets set for the next big challenges.

As one of the former colonies that has, especially with the rise of Modi – India’s first Prime Minister to be born after India’s independence – made a decisive break with the past, India has in my view everything to gain and very little, if anything, to lose from this approach. The Commonwealth could be one such institution that can become a vehicle to drive large parts of the world into the 21st century.

Though there is an urgent need to reimagine it, not as Empire 2.0 as some misguided apologists for the past have done in Britain but as a modern, forward-looking trade bloc that can help its members navigate through the choppy and highly complex waters of the global economy.

I have consistently argued that the UK has to do much of the heavy lifting following Brexit. This may be a good time to put its considerable global heft and prestige behind the move to reform and reinvigorate the Commonwealth and reimagine it as a global trading platform fit for the 21st century and beyond. It is for Her Majesty’s government to convince India, by far the largest Commonwealth member, to become its partner in the process. It is the world’s fastest growing major economy and clearly the nation to watch out for in this century. But over the years, India has viewed the Commonwealth with less than full enthusiasm.

Today, though, the world is a different place. In the era of Donald Trump and with winds of isolationism gathering pace in some Western democracies, India’s global aspirations and its far-sighted and global minded leader Narendra Modi stand out as a bellwether in the global community.

Given his penchant for getting things done and for carrying other countries along – as he did with the International Solar Alliance – the place to start would be New Delhi.

To re-imagine the Commonwealth, the following steps need to be taken:

  • Recognition of a rebalancing and redistribution of power within the Commonwealth – not just India, but in key countries like Nigeria, Australia, Canada, Singapore and the East African economies
  • Structural reform with some stronger weightage placed on India from an administrative perspective
  • Anoint New Delhi as the hub or head office of the Commonwealth trading bloc
  • Re-imagining the shared values and shared aspirations on the lines of Modi’s inclusive Sabka Ka Saath, Sabka Vikas credo as large swathes of the Commonwealth remain impoverished
  • The fight against poverty must take centre-stage, not through lecturing but real programmes, such as the export of the Jan Dhan Yojana, India’s highly successful financial inclusion scheme.

Frankly, however, the often referred to issue in the corridors of Lutyens Delhi remains the future role of British monarchy. Having the Queen as the non-political ceremonial head of the Commonwealth has historically served it well, no doubt. And, in my view it is probably not as big an issue as some make it out to be, but the relationship between Prince Charles and Modi will play an important role in the emergence of the Commonwealth in the coming decades. The fact that the two men, who will find they have a lot in common, have not yet met, is one thing that needs to be rectified, and rectified quick.

The advantages are obvious and massive – a readymade, English speaking bloc straddling every continent of the world, with common or similar legal and other systems, a combined GDP of $10.4 trillion or 14 per cent of global GDP and a population of 2.4 billion or a third of the world.

The opportunity beckons. Does Mrs May’s government have the nimbleness to pick up the threads and weave it into a fabric?

That’s the 10-billion-dollar question.


Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

#April 2017, #UK/Europe

As the number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities continues to register a drop, a new report reveals just what Britain stands to lose.

International students coming to study at UK universities are worth over 25 billion pounds to the British economy, found new research released today.

The latest analysis titled ‘The Economic Impact of International Students’, conducted for representative organisation Universities UK by Oxford Economics, shows that in 2014-15 spending by international students supported 206,600 jobs in university towns and cities across the UK.

#April 2017, #Commonwealth

There are seemingly insurmountable hurdles in the path of reinventing the Commonwealth as a multilateral free trade bloc but the potential upsides could make it a proposal worth pursuing.

There is a superstition in some parts of India which posits that inauspicious beginnings beget the best outcomes. If this proposition contains even a grain of empirical truth, then the proposal to reimagine the 52-nation Commonwealth as a 21st century trading bloc couldn’t have got off to a better start.

In the run-up to the Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting in London in March, an unnamed British official dubbed the discussion in some circles to reimagine the Commonwealth as a trade bloc as “Empire 2.0” – exactly the kind of language that raises the hackles of people in the former colonies.

#February 2017, #India & China

Asian equations, specially between the two giant economies of China and India will be in focus with the installation of Donald Trump as the 45th US president.

Trump’s belligerent ‘America First’ foreign and commercial policy stance, will in all likelihood, force China to curb its manufactured goods exports to the US, with whom it has a whopping and patently unsustainable trade surplus of nearly half a trillion dollars! It is unlikely that even US MNCs, which have huge export bases in China, could prevail upon Trump to not push back imports from China. This should push Chinese exporters to look for alternate markets during the next five to 10 years, during which China completes its planned switch to greater reliance on domestic consumption. India, with its growing and potentially large domestic markets and long track record of trade deficits, would offer a tempting opportunity for Chinese exporters looking to divert their exports and utilising their installed capacities.

#February 2017, #India & China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a delicate balance of engaging with China where there is mutual benefit and standing up to the South Asian neighbour where India’s strategic interests demand.

Dealing with China is arguably Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most daunting foreign policy challenge. That’s because it is difficult to fit the Middle Kingdom into any of the comfortable stereotypes that Indian diplomats have got used to.