Home Leaders Speak Maharashtra aims to become the first subnational trillion-dollar economy, which will be...

Maharashtra aims to become the first subnational trillion-dollar economy, which will be a significant milestone in this journey, says Uday Samant – Minister of Industries, Govt. of Maharashtra

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Q.1 What is your vision for Maharashtra’s Industrial Development?

Our vision for Maharashtra’s industrial development is to make the state a global hub of innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Maharashtra has a highly developed industrial ecosystem today, contributing ~14% to India’s GDP, ~17% to India’s exports and attracting almost 30% of the FDI flow. The state is cognizant of its responsibility in achieving the dream of Hon’ble PM, Shri Narendra Modi ji to make India a USD 5 trillion economy. Maharashtra aims to become the first subnational trillion-dollar economy, which will be a significant milestone in this journey.

Our strategy for Maharashtra’s industrial development entails maintaining our position as India’s largest and most diversified economy, fostering a favorable business environment, and promoting emerging sectors like Biotechnology, IT, Electric Vehicles, Aerospace, Defense, Textiles and Emerging Technologies. Simultaneously, we aim to enhance the quality of life for our citizens by creating jobs, improving education and healthcare, and ensuring inclusive growth. We will leverage our human capital and invest in social infrastructure to elevate living standards. Additionally, our commitment to green and sustainable development involves harnessing renewable energy, efficient waste management, and environmental protection measures to lower our carbon footprint. Lastly, we intend to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship through supportive ecosystems, access to finance, mentorship, and collaboration with academia and industry, fostering a culture of excellence in our state.

Q.2 MIDC’s role in building ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’- How does MIDC attract investors from abroad?

MIDC plays a central role in driving  the vision of ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ by attracting domestic and international investments. It offers world-class infrastructure, a business-friendly environment, progressive policies, and appealing incentives. As a result, from the year 2000, Maharashtra has secured 30% of India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through collaborations. State’s proactive industrial policy framework is among the most attractive in the country. Additionally, sector-specific policies in areas like Electronics, Textiles, IT/ITeS, and Electric Vehicles provide competitive subsidies. Investors receive customized incentive packages encompassing infrastructure, talent, subsidies, and streamlined regulatory clearances.

Furthermore, MIDC’s dual role as an Industry Enabler (Industrial Infrastructure) and as a bridge between the investors and the Government (Investment Promotion Agency), has played a pivotal role in enhancing the business climate in Maharashtra. MIDC actively participates in a range of domestic and international events fostering collaboration and showcasing expertise in various sectors. It consistently engages with key trade and business associations to ensure their participation in these events, which serve as excellent platforms for highlighting the diverse capabilities and offerings of the state. In addition to event participation, MIDC also hosts significant sectoral and diplomatic roundtables, further solidifying its position as a prominent facilitator of the state’s industrial ecosystem.

Q.3 MIDC is a nodal agency for industrial development in Maharashtra, what facilities MIDC is providing to investors and how?

MIDC acts as a nodal agency for industrial development of Maharashtra. MIDC sets up industrial areas for planned and systematic industrial development. It functions as a special planning authority in development of industrial areas which provides roads, water supply, drainage, water & Sewage treatment and power. Till date, MIDC has established 290 industrial areas.  MIDC has also developed specialized parks for different industrial sectors including IT, BT, Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Wine (Grape Processing) Park, Silver Zone, Gems and Jewellery where it provides common facilities and infrastructure to these parks such as cold storage, testing labs, packaging units, etc.

To facilitate investment procedures, MIDC has introduced several measures, including country desks to tailor services for specific regions, plug-and-play infrastructure for immediate utilization, and the Investor First Programme, assigning Relationship Managers (RMs) and Relationship Executives (RE) for ongoing support and coordination with investors along with the Maharashtra Industry, Trade, and Investment Facilitation Cell (MAITRI) as a one-stop G2B service hub.

Q.4 What did we gain from the successful Japan Tour of DCM?

Japan and Maharashtra have longstanding trade and bilateral relationship with over 750 Japanese companies currently operational in the state. Japan can play a crucial role in growing the thrust sectors of Maharashtra including Electronics, EV, Semiconductors, Textiles, and other such associated segments. These sectors are represented by globally renowned brands in Japan and Maharashtra aims to partner with interested Japanese companies to build a collaborative investment plan in the state which will help these companies tap into the 1.4 Bn demand market in India, spurred by the unique manufacturing and location advantages offered by Maharashtra.

Deputy Chief Minister visited Japan from 22nd August 2023 to 25th August 2023 for a state visit wherein he conducted over 20+ B2G and G2G meetings. The visit has opened up many avenues for the mutual growth of Maharashtra and Japan, especially mega-infra projects and Japanese investments in Maharashtra. Many diplomats and potential investors showed support towards the development of key infrastructural projects in the state such as the Versova Virar Sea Link (VVSL) Project, the Mumbai Flood Mitigation Project, and upcoming metro projects. There has also been a discussion by investors on positively exploring expansion in the fields of Data Centers, AI centres of excellence, Green Hydrogen and Ammonia, Renewable Energy and emerging sectors in the state.

Q.5 Industrial progress is responsible for employment generation and economic growth of the state. How is Maharashtra an employment-generation state?

Through the 154 MoUs signed with the industry since June 2020, 5,74,876 jobs are expected to be created in Maharashtra. I am also working closely with the Ministry of Education and industry stakeholders to actively enhance the employability and skill set of our youth. This collaborative effort aims to equip them with the knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in the job market, fostering a workforce that meets the evolving needs of our industries and ensures a brighter future for our state. In June 2023, the government took the initiative to start six skill centers in Pune, Nashik, Amravati, and Sambhaji Nagar to impart industry-related knowledge to the students. Moreover, our upcoming projects such as PM MITRA Park, Electronics Manufacturing cluster, Mega Leather Footwear and Accessories Cluster Development (MLFCAD, Bulk Drugs Park, Marine processing Park and Mango parks are expected to generate thousands of employment opportunities in the state.

Q.6 Higher industrial activity and investments are linked to an increase in CSR activities. How important is the role of CSR activities in bringing about a positive change in society?

CSR initiatives in Maharashtra are making a positive impact by addressing critical social and environmental issues while promoting sustainable development and community well-being. The foremost example of the importance of CSR showing positive change can be seen in how the industry came together to provide emergency medical equipment and Covid-relief during the brutal second wave. Moreover, as the CSR contribution of any industry is linked to its profit margins, the better the company’s performance or the higher its presence, the more funds are allocated to CSR activities. Over the years, various industry members have supported CSR activities for the upliftment of the Maharashtra state. For instance, in the past, Infosys Foundation has contributed funds to IIT Bombay for cancer research, and granted aid to the Sangini Mahila Sewa Cooperative Society, Mumbai for covering medical expenses of sex workers. In February 2023, Bajaj Finserv, through its ‘Accessibility & Freedom’ initiative’ offered hi-tech mobility solutions in Pune to empower specially-abled persons and help them integrate into society.

Q.7 The opposition alleges that the potential investments meant for Maharashtra often get attracted by other states. What is your response to such a statement?

For the last 23 years, the state has attracted the highest inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the country. Some of the biggest global industries have facilities in the state. This can be attributed to the state’s business-friendly policies and visionary leadership. Further, in planning for the future, the state government has undertaken the development of various large-scale infrastructure projects, such as, the Maharashtra Trans-Harbour Link, Versova Virar Sea Link, the Samruddhi Mahamarg, and increased metro connectivity. These projects, once completed, would provide seamless connectivity for the movement of goods and people, thus, accelerating its economic growth. It is also important to note that the investments go through their ebbs and flows depending on various external factors beyond our control. That said, the state continues to be lucrative given its industry-specific incentives, great talent, and a business-friendly environment.

Q.8 Maharashtra performed well in Davos 2023, what’s your take on that?

As the Minister of Industries, I feel an immense sense of pride when we discuss Maharashtra’s remarkable performance at the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos. Hon. Chief Minister Shri. Eknath Shinde and the accompanying delegation has taken substantial steps towards fostering economic growth and innovation by signing MoUs valued at INR 1,37,666 Crore with companies spanning diverse sectors. This achievement is expected to pave the way for the creation of a substantial 1,01,389 job opportunities in the state, showcasing Maharashtra’s unwavering commitment to industrial development and job creation. Furthermore, the state’s prominent presence at Davos through its expansive pavilion, highlighting its strengths in biotechnology, aerospace, renewable energy, and emerging technologies, underscores its potential to ascend to a global leadership position in science, technology, and innovation. Additionally, Maharashtra’s proactive engagement with critical global issues, including climate change, healthcare, education, and rural development, exemplifies its social responsibility and unwavering dedication to holistic development.

Overall, Maharashtra’s performance at WEF 2023 is a testament to its visionary leadership and its resolute commitment to advancing economic progress and social welfare. It not only showcases the state’s appeal in attracting investments but also positions it as a thriving hub for innovation while concurrently addressing urgent global challenges.

Q.9 Your statement on awarding Udyog Ratna to Mr. Ratan Tata.

Starting this year, the Maharashtra government introduced the prestigious Udyog Ratna Award to honor exceptional industrialists in the state. This year, this prestigious award was bestowed upon Shri. Ratan Tata in recognition of his remarkable contributions to the industrial development of Maharashtra and India’s overall economy. As the chairman emeritus of Tata Group, a global conglomerate with diverse business interests, Shri. Ratan Tata has not only catalyzed wealth creation and job opportunities but has also significantly elevated the global reputation of Maharashtra and India. His commitment to philanthropy, innovative ventures in emerging sectors, and dedication to social responsibility serve as a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs and industrialists. These remarkable qualities undeniably solidify his standing as an exceptional and accomplished figure, underscoring his unmatched prestige in receiving this prestigious honor.

Q.10 You immediately resolve people’s queries on the phone. How do you see it?

I believe in accessible and efficient governance, and I am committed to serving the people of our state to the best of my ability. When people reach out with their concerns or queries, I consider it my duty to respond promptly and address their issues. In today’s digital age, leveraging technology allows us to provide timely solutions, and I am glad that we can often resolve matters over the phone. It is crucial to me that our citizens feel heard and supported, and I will continue to strive for transparency and responsiveness in our government’s interactions with the public.

We have a dedicated and efficient team of officials and experts in the Industries Department who work with me and support me in handling the queries of the people. As a government with a forward-looking approach, we prioritize innovative solutions to bring effective governance closer to the people of Maharashtra. These would include:

1. Maharashtra Industry, Trade & Investment Facilitation Cell or MAITRI, a one-stop-shop for existing and prospective investors to get consolidated information about the investment process

2. the Maha Labharthi – a portal that has gathered all the state schemes in one place and made them accessible to all

3. Mahaswayam portal for updated information on jobs available in government and the private sector

4. e-Aushadhi, a supply chain management application software solution for managing annual demand and purchase of medicines with the government medical colleges

Q.11 Tata Group is going to build a museum in Maharashtra. This was conceptualized by you, how did you come up with this idea?

When I traveled abroad for roadshows, I had the opportunity to visit several museums established by top industrial brands. For instance, during a recent trip to South Korea, we visited Hyundai’s impressive Museum. The Tata Group has been a significant source of inspiration for many, which led me to propose the establishment of a Tata Group museum in Maharashtra. I made this request in the presence of our Hon. Chief Minister Shri. Eknath Shinde, Hon. Deputy Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Hon. Deputy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar. I am delighted to inform you that Mr. Ratan Tata and Mr. Chandrasekaran have enthusiastically agreed to this proposal, and they have assured us that in the near future, they will create an international-level museum in our state. Additionally, Mr. Tata has offered his ongoing guidance and support for the development of Maharashtra’s industrial ecosystem.

Q.12 You just travelled to South Korea for a roadshow. Do you think Hyundai will invest in the state?

During my recent visit to South Korea for a roadshow, I had the opportunity to meet with Hyundai representatives. The primary focus of our discussion was to facilitate and expedite Hyundai’s investment in our state. We had detailed conversations regarding the support and incentives that the Maharashtra government is committed to providing to Hyundai to ensure a smooth investment process. Our discussions also extended to the expansion of Hyundai’s manufacturing operations in Maharashtra, with a particular emphasis on the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) segment. I assured them of the state’s continuous support and our commitment to offering the best possible incentive package to facilitate their growth and investment endeavors within Maharashtra.