British government’s funding arm, DFID, will provide an assistance of 230 million pound (about Rs 2,400 crore) in the form of loans for providing finance to the SME sector in West Bengal.
UK minister of state for energy, climate change and business engagement with India, Greg Barker, who called on the state industry and finance minister Amit Mitra at Nabanna Friday, told reporters that the money would be routed through institutions like SIDBI and nationalised banks, which in turn would extend funds to the SME sector.
Barker, who visited Kolkata with British Prime Minister David Cameron in November last year, said, there were visible changes happening in the city and state. “It is nice to see that positive changes are taking place. The Bengal government is also supportive in nature,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the minister said the two-way trade between UK and India is likely to double by 2015 while investment both way was growing too.
“The relationship with India is flourishing. We are looking at doubling trade by 2015 and investments both way are growing as well,” Barker told a seminar on ‘UK and West Bengal in Partnership’ here.
He said that the UK was the third largest investor in India, while India was the fifth largest in the UK, adding that this was the first time that a ministry responsible for improving business ties with India was formed. “This is a reflection of the huge importance the British government places on business relationship with India,” he said.
Referring to West Bengal, he said that state government was very supportive and positive for a ‘great’ relation with the UK. Barker said that there were top-notch UK companies which were able to give solutions for improving the infrastructure of the state as well for beautification of the Kolkata.