UK is a natural partner for Make in India: India Inc. Interview
Priti Patel has been the British Prime Minister's Indian Diaspora Champion for years and was recently elevated to David Cameron's Cabinet as employment minister. India Inc. caught up with the minister just before her debut G20 summit in Turkey in early September to cover a wide range of topics, from Britain's Make in India goals to Narendra Modi's first visit to the UK as Indian Prime Minister later this year. What is the importance of this G20 ministerial summit The G20 is a very proactive forum, for us in particular because we are leading the world when it comes to employment, employment programmes and getting more people back into work (based on the labour market statistics over the past few years). We have the highest level of employment in the G7 in particular and the fact that we have done a lot to get young people back into work, particularly the NEETs [Not in Education, Employment or Training] category. A part of the ambition we have is that I will be joining my counterparts from across the world to reduce the number of NEETs by 15 per cent over the next 10 years. We have already done a lot and the figure is at its lowest level in a decade and we have had 44 consecutive months of getting the NEET countdown. At a macro level, it is a reflection of the government's commitment to young people, being ambitious for our young people and being ambitious in terms of the support we provide our young people; making sure that we provide them the best start in life by investing in them through training and support. What is the significance of your bilateral with Indian labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya It's a way of highlighting the partnership and collaboration in this area in particular, sharing skills and expertise, investing in private sector partnerships that can support India's objectives in training and employment as well. The Indian government is deeply ambitious in terms of its own economic outcomes and objectives. It's the largest democracy in the world and it also has a very, very young population. With the challenges we have faced in our labour market with young people, we have good insights and experiences on how we can support young people to get closer to the labour market through education and training. What does the upcoming visit by the Indian PM mean for the India- UK relationship As we have the PM of India coming later this year, we want to build a dialogue at the G20 which will facilitate growth and investment in India. There is no doubt when it comes to Make in India, we absolutely are there to support the Indian government. Central to that is skills, training and education. For Make in India, the foundations are important and that's all about the people and we can support India in investing in people. So we see this as a natural collaboration, a natural partnership. This is two great nations coming together and it would be very much about how we can bring this historic relationship into the modern context in terms of supporting PM Modi's vision of economic development. It's about our support to India and its transformation, strengthening our long-standing partnership and also about building upon the joint successes of our two countries to help more people get the best start in life. Also, India as a global leader stands tall in the world and we can support India's global aspirations, whether it's on employment, on investment, or on trade. And how as two nations we stand together, shoulder to shoulder to meet those shared objectives. How important is the role of the diaspora in this context In my capacity as the PM's diaspora Champion, I am personally thrilled that the PM of India is coming. I am thrilled to be involved in supporting the official visit and also being involved in the community event, at Wembley Stadium. We have an enormous Indian diaspora, a very successful Indian diaspora in the UK. I think they are absolutely at the heart of this visit. It will be a tremendous celebration of the UK-Indian diaspora. There is no doubt it will be one of the biggest Diwali celebrations in the UK. It is such a special and auspicious occasion for all Indians and the fact that we have the PM of India coming to the UK at that auspicious time to be among the largest Indian diaspora communities in the world will absolutely make this a very exciting celebration and a very important illustration of the strength of the relationship of our two great nations. How are you settling into your new ministerial role It is an immense privilege to be in this role because of the work we do here. Our work is about people, supporting people in terms of getting them back to work, helping them secure employment and ultimately helping transform people's lives. In terms of the transition, there was none because we were all working every single day during the election campaign as well. We campaigned hard for a Conservative majority government, we got that and then it was about getting on and doing what we said we would do in terms of delivering on our manifesto.