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India has been branded poorly: EU experts

Neena Gill of the European parliament said, "India is not being branded well as an attractive investment option."

india Updated: Sep 08, 2005 04:42 IST

The government and business lobbies responsible for pushing trade and attracting foreign investment have done a rather poor job of branding India, experts from a visiting EU delegation contended on Wednesday.

"India is not being branded well as an attractive investment option and the people responsible for doing this have done a bad job of it," said Neena Gill, chairperson of the Asia delegation in the European parliament.

Gill was addressing a session on 'Services: Opportunities for India and EU' at the 6th India-EU business summit said on Wednesday.

"In the West, India is still seen as an underdeveloped or developing country that is successfully stealing local jobs with its outsourcing industry. This perception must change for the better," she said.

"The government and various business chambers must be able to market a better picture of the country," Gill said referring to bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Speakers also said certain sections of the sensationalist media in Britain were also drumming up fears of local jobs being lost to India and questionable safety standards of financial and health records in the Indian outsourcing industry.

"The only counter to such agenda is good governance and self regulation from the industry," said Gill, who is the only Indian-born member serving the European parliament.

"This is important for the long-term investor climate that would spill over to other sectors of ambition like healthcare and education."

Sanjiv Ahuja, chief executive of global telecommunication major Orange, said: "China takes significantly more jobs from the West than India but does not have a negative image.

"People must be able to perceive India as a burgeoning economy, with more than half the population under the age of 25, and brand it as an exciting investment option that would be beneficial for the future of investors."

Most speakers agreed that while India remained an attractive investment option, there still existed too many barriers that prevented potential investors from pumping their money here.

"The government has increased the investment roof in the telecom sector to 74 per cent but it is yet to be implemented. People who want to invest would obviously want to control their investment," Ahuja said.

Harpal Singh, chairman and managing director of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said: "Trade should be open and partnerships should be on an equal footing. India should be seen as a fair playground where investors can leverage revenue."

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 16:08 IST