Duke of York seeks opening up of legal sector, easy FDI norms

New Delhi, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
The Duke of York Prince Andrew, who is in India as a special representative of the United Kingdom for international trade and investment, has sought opening up of the legal services sector and further liberalisation of FDI norms. He has also favoured reforms in the banking sector.

Supporting the idea, director of National Judicial Academy, Bhopal NR Madhav Menon told FE, Its imperative that the legal sector be opened up. But the government and the Bar Council of India have to do some homework like amending the Partnership Act to ensure it results in Indian law firms having multi-disciplinary partners from fields other than law.

Diljeet Titus of Titus & Co said, This will be good for the consumer as the move will raise standards. But issues like ban on advertising and marketing, allowing foreign lawyers to practice in court, have to be addressed first.

At a meeting with the minister of state for commerce and industry, Ashwani Kumar, Prince Andrew underlined the huge potential for increasing two-way trade and investment between India and the UK.

He said there was tremendous scope for increasing the number of joint ventures and collaborations between the SMEs of the two countries, particularly in textile machineries, engineering, automobile, pharmaceutical and electronic hardware.

Kumar said India offered great investment and work opportunities in various sectors. In construction alone, Indian government has earmarked $15 billion over the next 10 years to upgrade and extend airport capacity in the country. This is an area where UK companies could have a major share. Oil, gas and power sectors require billions of dollars of investment in the future, he said.

The minister also focussed on possibilities of expanding the Indo-UK trade and investment in manufacturing, infrastructure, IT, service sector, food processing, textile machinery and advance technology products.

Earlier in the day, addressing a meeting of businessmen, organised by Ficci, Prince Andrew called for a freer regime, where UK lawyers and accountants are allowed to set up shop and offer services in India.