Hike in insurance FDI will pave way for Lloyds: Brown

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
UK's Chancellor of exchequer Gordon Brown on Thursday said liberalising foreign investments in the insurance sector by India would result in entities like Lloyds of London offering reinsurance services here.

He said finance minister P Chidambaram had indicated that the government was planning to raise the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector to 49% from the current 26%.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram indicated that a Bill will be introduced in Parliament next month to increase FDI limit in insurance to 49% from 26%, Brown said at the launch of the India-UK economic and financial dialogue here on Tuesday. Brown, who is on a three day India visit, also said that opening up of the retail sector was one of the key topics of his discussion with Indian policy makers. He also said that both the countries should aim to remove barriers capital inflow, investment and trade.

The two countries have also agreed to open up the banking sector and India has asked the UK to provide more cences to Indian banks to operate in Britain. Commenting on the proposed takeover of Hutch-Essar by UK's Vodafone, Brown said, The Indian government has assured us that it will provide a level playing field to all companies involved in the takeover bid.

Speaking on the occasion, Chidamabaram said Standard Chartered Bank of UK was the largest foreign bank in India. I am sure they will continue to grow organically in India, he said. His emphasis on organic growth of banks however, points to the fact that the freedom for foreign banks to acquire banks in India is unlikely to come soon.Using the public-private partnership (PPP) route in social sector was another issue that was discussed at the meeting. The idea of extending the PPP model from the infrastructure sector to social sectors, has been discussed, the FM said.

With the launch of the dialogue, the two countries hope to work for promoting international cooperation for sustained growth in the world economy.

NEW CAMARADERIE

THE PLAN
The Centre is planning to introduce a Bill to raise the limit of FDI in the insurance sector to 49% from the current 26%

THE ADVANTAGES

The move would allow companies with unique structures, like Lloyds
of London, to offer reinsurance services in India

THE COOPERATION

The two countries have agreed to open up the banking sector and India has asked the UK to provide more licences to Indian banks


THE ASSURANCE

The government has assured Brown that it will provide a level playing field to all companie, involved in the takeover bid of Hutch-Essar