Tuesday, November 20, 2012

UK INDIA news from London

Last Friday Minister Firhad Hakim met Sir Michael Bear, former Lord Mayor of the City of London. The discussion revolved around ways in which international financial institutions could be made interested in thr Kolkata Hub. He gave some very useful suggestions and practical advice. A follow-up meeting will be held today at 3pm at Guildhall, City of London - the main place in London where all Financial Institutions are located.
Here is a picture:
Minister Firhad Hakim and Sir James Bear at London on 16th  Nov
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Yesterday, the "West Bengal Urban Regeneration & Development : Scoping Study" was released in a special ceremony organised by UK Trade and Investment and UK India Business Council. MOS UK Greg Barker spoke of the 'West Bengal Miracle'. He mentioned that a Mission to India / Kolkata would be led by him next year. He remarked that India was UK's Partner Country of Choice.
  Mr Firhad Hakim, in his speech mentioned that economic development and creation of employment opportunities in urban areas were the priorities. He welcomed partnership opportunities with London and mentioned that it could be 'A Tale of Two Cities'.
The main features of the Study Report were presented by the experts of UK India Business Council.
Here is a picture:
Minister Firhad Hakim and Minister Greg Barker releasing the Study  Report
at London on 19th Nov
There were a lot of questions from the participants. It continued well into the lunch time. Minister Hakim responded to one of the questions by saying that the government would consider setting up a special cell to help NRIs  in West Bengal. Quite a few related to the Financial Hub in New Town Rajarhat, and this prompted me to show a 5-minute video of New Town that I was carrying in my pen drive. During one of the questions, I congratulated the UK India Council for sending their team to Kolkata for three months and remarked that solutions would have to be sensitive to local culture and needs: there could not be any 'cut-and-paste' solution cloned from elsewhere.
Many participants expressed that they would soon travel to India to work out actual areas of mutual co-operation.
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Here is a clipping from Pratidin:


  1. Congratulations for successfully selling "Brand Kolkata" and "Financial Hub" in New Town. Hope we get some positive vibrations from them which can translate into investments. Its a long process and as you say Rome was not built in a day.

    Meanwhile some "out-of-the-box" idea can translate into a big attraction for Financial Hub. Things like making an IFSC centre which GIFT Ahmedabad is doing.


    Problem is this requires a SEZ status ( as far as I know about the ministry of commerce & MOF rules) and this is tough in Bengal now.

    However this can lead to Stock exchanges from London, Tokyo, Singapore establishing their backhand exchange here. For instance, the stock exchanges in the US and the UK have taken five per cent stake in Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange.

    Significance of IFSC:

    IFSC, which is within SEZ, if approved by MoF, will allow Indian banks to give foreign loans from Indian soil, ie from IFSC.

    This will be the first step in making Kolkata financial hub a centre of foreign exchange trading.

  2. The real advantage of this trip will be the marketing of Kolkata.

    This is indeed true companies and business houses in the western world are literally sitting on trillions of dollars waiting indefinitely for the recession to get over.

    All we need to do is very good marketing so that they are convinced that they can get good returns. Its because of this lack of exposure that these investors think that these emerging markets are full of risk and they hesitate to invest.

  3. This is impressive Mr Sen.
    I liked the part of you carrying a promotional video and instant showcasing of the ground. I agree with Abhishek that only proper promotioning and reduction of red-tapism is the only thing we need to ensure to change the face of Kolkata.

  4. Congratulations Sir,

    Great effort to build image of "Brand Kolkata".

    IFSC Idea suggested by Abhishek is unique. Foreign Exchange Trading and Foreign Loans from Indian Soil in Kolkata Financial Hub will make it an attractive destination of International Business. Thanks Abhisekh.


    Ramesh Mehra

  5. Can we include an existing SEZ in New Town for setting up IFSC in New Town Financial Hub? The way Infy is planning to use Saporji Palanji SEZ for their purpose.

  6. I request you to upload the video in Youtube if possible. In that way, many people will have a glimpse of New Town