Dramatic drop in perception over corruption, says UK-India Business Council report

Hyderabad | Updated on November 25, 2019

Brexit has stimulated UK firms to engage more deeply with India

The UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) in its 5th annual Doing Business in India Report highlights how Brexit could bring more business to India while observing there is a dramatic drop in perceptions about corruption.

When the UKIBC published its first Doing Business in India report in 2014, over 50 per cent of respondents cited corruption as a top barrier to operating in India. This figure in 2019 has dropped to 17.5 per cent.

The report is based on the results of extensive discussions, including a roundtable in London with Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and a survey that captured the views of UK companies and higher education institutions on the operating environment in India and their reform priorities.

Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, said “The Telugu region has been the number one region of the country in terms of EODB since I arrived in 2017, something people are justifiably proud of.”

Overall, the survey respondents were positive about India, with 56 per cent stating that it is getting easier to do business in India, and only 21 per cent saying that it has not improved.

Perhaps the most positive message in the report for the Modi government is the dramatic drop in perceptions of corruption.

Barriers to business

The most persistent barrier to doing business continues to be ‘legal and regulatory impediments’, which were cited by 59 per cent of respondents as a major barrier. ‘Identifying a suitable partner’ and ‘taxation issues’ are the next two most cited barriers.

The respondents called for a ‘simplification of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)’.

The highest scoring aspects of the Indian business environment continue to be telecommunication facilities, closely followed by the availability of skilled labour, the availability of support and service providers, and the availability of supply chain.

With Brexit on the agenda of UK companies, 26 per cent said that they planned to do more business with India as a direct result of the UK leaving the EU. This will be a further boost to the flow of goods, services and investment between the two countries.

Published on November 25, 2019

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