12th Annual India Seminar: India – Is the pace of change fast enough?

16 July 2018

Our London office were proud sponsors of the 12th annual India seminar, titled ‘India: Is the pace of change fast enough?’ which was held in London at The Guildhall on 12 June 2018.

UHY Hacker Young have sponsored this prestigious event for several consecutive years, which this year attracted over 200 attendees, all with a shared interest in India. The audience included senior people from global investment and private banks, family offices, private equity firms, hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds, high net worth investors, accountancy and legal firms, trust companies, Indian High Commission, UK’s House of Lords and H.M. Treasury.

As a ‘knowledge share’ event rather than a commercial one, speakers discussed under Chatham House rules the challenges and opportunities facing India now and into the future. Deepak Lalwani OBE, acted as Chairman and the opening address was delivered by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Charles Bowman, who commented that the UK-India partnership is at an all-time high.

The keynote speaker at the event was His Excellency Mr Y. K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to the UK. He gave a comprehensive, upbeat and insightful update on where India is today and the pace of change, as well as the strong India-UK relationship going forward.

A panel of eminent speakers went on to give their updates on:

  • Whether the change of pace is fast enough, and what still holds India back?
  • Indian politics, the economy, regional states, financial markets
  • How technology is accelerating change in India
  • UK-India post-Brexit
  • India vs other emerging markets: relative attraction and what still needs to be done

The speakers’ overall views were optimistic and positive. India is growing fast with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that India will continue to be the fastest growing major economy in the world.

Technology has been a particular accelerator for change; the country holds 15% of the world’s phones and there are 150 million mobile connections a year, and the number of online users has grown from 39 million users in 2015 to 90 million in 2018.  However it was agreed that India remains a place of contrasts with many in rural areas still struggling to access technology, so one of the big questions explored was whether tackling digital exclusion will help growth and productivity.

It was agreed that the last four years of the present government have brought a sea change of transformation across India; many infrastructure and energy targets are being achieved, and real change can be seen. The sense of scale is staggering, and whilst there are opportunities everywhere for growth and the pace of change has been good, there is still a way to go. With a population of 1.25 billion people, change will not happen overnight and infrastructure is still inadequate in places but the country is headed in a positive direction.

The India Report which covers a synopsis of the seminar, and outlines the positives and negatives for the India market, as well as an outlook for the financial market over the coming years, is available to download here.

Vinod Vadgama, head of our India business desk, said: “we were delighted to sponsor this high profile event again and to see it so well attended by those with an interest in the India market.  The report is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the market and provides a comprehensive summary of our discussion points.  It was encouraging to hear that whilst there is still work to be done, the pace of change and the opportunities available in India are immense, and the outlook is positive.”