Sunil Kaushal says the time is ripe for New Zealand to tap into the opportunities presented by the new India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi

By Sunil Kaushal*

Amid fears of a global trade war, India continues to chart its own course while establishing itself as the world’s fastest growing economy.

India has also been making consistent efforts to reduce barriers to doing business. Consistent efforts from the incumbent government have resulted in the country climbing 30 ranks in the ease of doing business. This has resulted in an increase of $61 billion in foreign direct investment in the past year alone.

Source: Government of India

Efforts towards making doing business easier have attracted foreign direct investment, which has accelerated the country’s GDP growth to 8.2% in the three months ending June 2018. This is the highest growth recorded in the past two years and the strongest since the first quarter of 2016. In comparison China’s growth was 6.7% for the same period.

Further, implementation of GST has borne fruit and has started to provide a steady boost to the country’s GDP.

Source: Government of India

At current estimates GDP for Q1 of 2018-19 is estimated to be around US$633 billion, as against US$556 billion in Q1 of 2017-18. This mean an unprecedented growth rate of 13.8%. 

Reforms and fiscal prudence are serving the Indian economy well along with India witnessing an expansion of its neo middle class.

The Indian Government, apart from encouraging growth in business, has also introduced a number of policy programmes that should further propel the country’s economic and social growth. Ayushman Bharat (India’s healthcare programme), and the India Post Payment bank created with the aim of increasing the outreach of banking and digital services to even the most rural parts of India are example of two such policy programmes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his agenda is clear, he wants to show case a “New India”, where homelessness, joblessness, poverty and diseases are a thing of the past.

The evolving Indian middle class and their spending power presents New Zealand and our exporters with opportunities. We have often discussed supply chain and cold storage solutions that New Zealand can offer in India. There has also been talk of other sectors setting up links with companies in India. I think the time for talk has passed. We in New Zealand need to now make use of the opportunities presented by the new India and its leadership. Fonterra has shown us the way to India is through perseverance and through choosing the right networks and partners. 


*Sunil Kaushal is the Secretary General of the New Zealand India Trade Alliance. Follow @itanzindia

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11 Comments

Of course India has a great future. And unlike some other Asian countries it shares history and common use of English. A sensible NZ would jump at a chance to increase ties with India but seeing it from India's view point why bother with such a small place that is so far away and is going down the economic wealth ladder as India goes up it. Especially why bother with NZ when it cannot and seems almost unwilling to protect naive Indian students being exploited by Indian agencies selling NZ residency in collaboration with conmen in NZ.
In Dec 2016 the Herald had a headline about an Indian woman being told "No sex , no visa" and two days ago we have more stories of exploitation of Indians in New Zealand being ripped off by Visa fraud schemes. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/107212250/the-big-scam-how-our-im...
Virtually no action for two years although probably the problem goes back farther than that.

Maybe NZ's reputation in India cannot be retrieved but we could try. First stop these 3rd rate Indian students coming to NZ on the pretence of education but actually buying residency and then replace them with the 1st rate graduates from top Indian universities. Those who are not staying in India are going to USA and the UK - why not New Zealand?

Are you seriously asking why top Indian graduates are going to the US over... New Zealand?

Ummm... salary? Opportunity? Cost of living?

I know the NZ (and British!) media love to shit all over America, but quality of life for a professional is so much higher, and there are a lot of safe areas.

Yes that was serious. If you are a top graduate from a top Indian university you know you can make money where ever you go. You will be motivated by opportunity and NZ gives you space and beautiful countryside; minimal problems creating new businesses and cheaper staff than most developed countries.
Now look at the problems:-
1. crazy delay in processing visas - an employer should be able to place a large bond in escrow so you can arrive and work within say 24 hours of applying for a visa - then INZ can take their time with the medicals, police checks, etc.
2. bad reputation created by low standard Indian students which is leading to mild racism to all Indians (simply prevent any non-graduate working and most of the low grade Asians working in KFC, Uber, etc will disappear).
3. make a concerted effort which means spend money to get the best professors working in NZ universities. The reputation of NZ universities is in sad decline. The best immigrants will be searching for cutting edge research: maths, computing, engineering, science.
4. reverse the freeze on family reunion. A really successful young Indian capable of creating a new export business will be attracted to a country that permits his family to come and live with him. NZ is already losing skilled immigrants from the UK who are returning to the UK purely to look after their aging parents. There is no reason to stop family reunion so long as it is clearly demonstratable that it will not cost the NZ taxpayer - it just means buying pensions and health insurance.

I'd agree with you that most will continue to buy tickets to California but we only need persuade a fraction that life in a nation which enjoys cricket has its advantages.

To quote my friend Bushan "they brought in the wrong Indians".

I don't know why so many New Zealanders think 'space and countryside' is some amazing unique advantage that only NZ has. Newsflash - the world is covered in bloody farms.

Cheap labour in a tiny country drives wages down significantly. End result poor quality of life for everyone.

Sufficient cheap immigrant labour in a country of any size drives wages down significantly. It is not a fun life at the bottom of US or French society, and NZ is going that way too.

I disagree with your 'poor quality of life for everyone'. Take myself for example, a retired middle class POM in North Shore Auckland - plenty of cheap take away food, care homes cheaper than they would be if they paid their staff properly and of course I've made more money from the dramatically increasing value of my two properties than I ever did working. At least I can see how it works for me and I'm embarrassed especially by that unearned wealth. But it is not good for my adult children.
Significantly low wage immigration has been good for politicians, academics (one actually had the nerve to complain that she needed a low wage foreigner to mind her child so she could return to work), the media needing an expanding readership, business owners too lazy to train and too unpleasant to retain native New Zealand staff.

Of course the exploitation of indian immigrants is happening at the hands of indian business owners here who are acting in coordination with agents in india. India is, like China, a land of severely compromised ethics and virtually non existant human rights. That we are snuggling up to either is far beyond this posters level of comfort and any move to decrease inbound arrivals from both nations will be happily received. Especially the fam renunion category.

I don't know much about India other than the handfull of Indians I've met and been friends with. Saying India and Indian is rather like saying Europe and European; clearly it is a big and diverse place. However I do know PNG and if you are about to go there I would give you a warning about the many risks - however in my judgement although PNG has a subset of very nasty vicious dangerous people it also has a far larger number of truly honest and upright people. Something to do with living in poverty makes some people feral but many more are upright - maybe something to do with a pride in their integrity replacing our pride in our possessions. I suspect both India and China are the same.
But NZ is morally responsible for an immigration systems that tempts the worst to exploit their fellows. My Grandma told me to never put temptation in peoples way (she disapproved of supermarkets which were tempting the weak into shop-lifting). Clearly applying immigration policies in 3rd world countries which work fine in 1st world countries is stupid and in my opinion evil since the exploitation has been documented for years and we do little about it.

India has been on my radar for a while. What's the best way for a small time investor to buy Indian shares?

Buy NIFTY ETF. More likely to double in 4 years.

Whatever you do, be very careful. The quality of India's publicly listed companies deteriorates very quickly when it comes to financial reporting/accounting standards.