The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll in every walk of life and continues. However economic and industrial activities globally are cautiously coming back on track. Minister of Industries Shri Subhash Desai, Maharashtra Government, talks to Asian Lite in a candid interview about the Maharashtra government’s latest initiatives to bring in investments to the state, sustaining interest from the automotive sector, creating an EV manufacturing hub, and the strategic approach towards signing MoU’s.

ASIAN LITE: How is MAGNETIC MAHARASHTRA 2.0 unique and different from its earlier versions and what are the key focus areas? How is MAGNETIC MAHARASHTRA 2.0 better than investment initiatives of other states?

SHRI SUBHASH DESAI: In June 2020, Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackreayji unveiled Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0; the state’s investment and growth stimulus strategy. Initiatives under this strategy enhanced the state’s policy framework and overall investment sentiment. With focus on economic recovery, the strategy features some of the boldest and most impactful investment reforms. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) – the state’s nodal investment promotion agency, having the largest industrial land bank in the country of 2.25 lakh acres is geared to acquire additional 40,000 acres for companies looking to invest in Maharashtra. Among our key offerings, MIDC offers ready-to-move-in factories with advanced utilities and affordable pricing structure, tailor-made for specific sectors.

The growth story of Maharashtra coupled with investor confidence seen in last few months has positioned the state to retain its advantage of being “the most favoured investment destination in the country”.  Magnetic Maharashtra – the torch bearer of India’s growth is “Open for Business”.

Hon’ble Minister Industries State Sh.Subhash Desai

These facilities will host a diverse base of entrepreneurs, local suppliers, and anchor units. The state has also launched ‘Maha Parwana’, a mega single-permission system to fast track industrial permissions as quickly as 48 hours. The state has designed ‘Maha Jobs’ portal to act as industry employment bureau. Currently it hosts 2.94 lakhs applications and 2731 registered employers. In order to further strengthen bilateral ties with our partner countries the state offers dedicated country desks managed by a team of Relationship Managers and Relationship Executives that ensures priority investor handholding. I assure you, only Maharashtra offers these initiatives backed by robust infrastructure and clear policies, unmatchable to any competitive state’s reform strategies. The state’s capacity to harbour industrial ecosystem coupled with visionary leaders and policymakers that successfully deploy resources in a strategic manner makes Maharashtra a numero uno business destination.

ASIAN LITE: What special initiatives are there for investors to make it convenient for them in setting up their industries, acquiring land banks, ease of doing business, infrastructure etc, in short, the entire business ecosystem?

SHRI SUBHASH DESAI: Technology coupled with strong vision and governance is Maharashtra’s forte. Recent engagements under Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 witnessed participation of domestic and global business leaders from 29 companies who reinforced their confidence in the state by signing MoUs worth over Rs 50,000 crore. The Maha Jobs portal, Maha Parwana (accelerated permission system) and Plug & Play infrastructure are just a few examples that form the backbone for the state’s economic recovery.

In terms of industrial infrastructure and connectivity, we host some of the most successful industrial clusters in the country with robust connectivity via rail, road, ports and air links. In the use of technology, our single window clearance regime has simplified and streamlined various statutory approvals and clearances required for industries to a great extent. In Ease of Doing Business, we have undertaken various reforms and a transformative approach recently. Specialized policies and markets have been developed across the districts to bring suppliers, producers, sellers and buyers together. We have consistently upgraded our industrial ecosystem through infrastructure development and aim to continue with the development process.

The growth story of Maharashtra coupled with investor confidence seen in last few months has positioned the state to retain its advantage of being “the most favoured investment destination in the country”.  Magnetic Maharashtra – the torch bearer of India’s growth is “Open for Business”.

ASIAN LITE: With many states trying aggressively to attract investments, how do you plan to retain your state’s share and rather grow in the coming years?

Also Read: Advantage Maharashtra

SHRI SUBHASH DESAI: A robust policy framework and progressive actions initiated by the state political leadership have helped the state in achieving this unparalleled growth. This has led to strong performance in our Ease of Doing Business ranking and a recent study published by NITI Aayog on Export Preparedness ranked Maharashtra as second among Indian states. Maharashtra provides a mature industrial ecosystem to diversified sectors with dominant presence of Automobile and Auto-Components, Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical, Chemicals, Creative Industry, Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), Engineering, Food Processing, Information Technology (IT), Textiles & Garments. Besides emerging technologies such as Industry 4.0 including Internet of Things (IoT), IoT based Kiosks, Embedded Technologies, 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Nanotechnology and Data Centers have been identified as thrust sectors. A well-developed infrastructure, large pool of skilled manpower, presence of prominent educational and research institutions as well as excellent living conditions, continues to give Maharashtra an edge in attracting global investments.

ASIAN LITE: How far do you think the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has dampened the spirit of investors in terms of volumes? How do you see the pandemic as an opportunity?

SHRI SUBHASH DESAI: The pandemic posed a new normal for the industries to relook at their strategies and operational models to become resilient. Maharashtra, India’s most industrialized state, mirroring the National Growth vision, has scaled its efforts to meet this unprecedented situation, and at the same time realizes its economic response will determine the long-term effects of this pandemic. To promote manufacturing, in line with the Hon’ble Prime Ministers vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Vocal for Local’ we aim to support manufacturers through the policy measures of Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 strategy. The state shall remain to be one of the most preferred investment destinations within India and in South East Asia.

ASIAN LITE: Maharashtra wants to also be a major manufacturing hub for the EV industry, are you offering any special incentives to investors from the EV industry?

SHRI SUBHASH DESAI: The EV industry is in a very nascent stage, yet a consistently developing market. The State’s Electric Vehicle Policy envisions to develop Maharashtra as the leader in EV manufacturing and use. In this regard, we are targeting to generate an investment of Rs 25,000 crores in EV and its component manufacturing which will create jobs for over 1 lakh persons. The Government of Maharashtra through its EV Policy has a focus on promoting R&D, innovation and skill development in the EV which will benefit the existing auto component manufacturing hubs.

Along with the components needed for the vehicles themselves, we need to look at the components needed for the EV infrastructure such as sufficient number of charging points, cables, sockets and other accessories will also be a necessary part of the transition to EVs.

The state promotes EV public transport in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Thane, Nagpur and Nashik in its initial phases and other new regions as well.

Also Read: India’s Retail Inflation Lowers In November: Report

Also Read: Facebook To Open Up Opportunities For India’s SMBs