Mumbai: Maharashtra could retain its position as the top investment destination and also lead the way in manufacturing if the government and industry worked together to meet the challenges of providing the necessary skills, creating an ecosystem conducive for innovation and start-ups, and building infrastructure to enable the agriculture and rural markets to benefit from the economic growth, industrialists concurred at the Maharashtra Investment Summit on Monday at the Make in India week.
They also agreed that they needed to take a bigger responsibility than the government to provide the skills that are necessary to make the available work force employable.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, union minister of state for power (independent charge) Piyush Goyal, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd Ratan Rata, Bharat Forge Ltd chairman Baba Kalyani, Reliance Industries Ltd executive director Nikhil Meswani, chairman and managing director of Raymond Group Gautam Singhania, and founder and managing director of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd Dilip Shanghvi participated in the session on Maharashtra: leading the way forward for India’s manufacturing.
Executive director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Pawan Goenka moderated the discussion.
Fadnavis told the industry to approach the government with suggestions and assured that the government would “tweak" the policies based on the inputs provided by them.
Tata pointed out that infrastructure in Maharashtra had not kept pace with the economic growth of the state over the years. “This government and particularly the chief minister have shown the resolve to bridge this gap. We need big thinking to understand that agriculture is as important as business. But what is essential to establish connectivity between them is infrastructure. Also, government policies should facilitate growth," Tata said.
The former Tata Sons chairman, who has invested in a few start-ups himself, said the start-up sector needed a conducive environment, skills, space, ease of entering business and a policy of innovation.
“Apart from the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and established institutions of education, we need research centres and centres of innovation to encourage our young talent to innovate," Tata said.
He also made a point about establishing newer ways to finance start-ups in addition to conventional bank loans. “We need more venture capitalists and financial structures that look out for good ideas and support them," he said.
Kalyani said the fourth industrial revolution in the world or in Maharashtra would create a completely different ecosystem that would have a level playing field between the developed and developing countries. “But the most important component of this revolution is that 65% of the new jobs that will be created around the globe are the jobs we do not know anything about and here, skilling people will be very essential," Kalyani said. He suggested creation of a skilling corridor in Maharashtra.
Meswani of Reliance pinpointed four big opportunities for Maharashtra to augment its manufacturing sector. He said the Mumbai-Nagpur high-speed road and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor would establish connectivity between the hinterland and ports and also generate greater employment in sectors like textiles. The Pune-Nashik corridor should be capitalized as the Napa Valley of India based on its rich wine industry, he said. He suggested developing an intelligent corridor along the Mumbai-Pune expressway based on the knowledge economy in this region. Meswani also suggested establishing world-class universities and research centres to impart skills.
Shanghvi of Sun Pharma pointed out that the pharma industry was in a transition phase which required new skills and ability to tap new technologies. “Though Mumbai still accounts for 70% of India’s pharma business, much of the manufacturing has moved out of Maharashtra. This needs to be brought back by making the right policies and providing conducive environment for research centres," Shanghvi said.
On skill development, Mahindra’s Goenka told his peers from the industry that in the developed world, the industry took a greater share of imparting the right skills than the government. “In the developed countries, the industry takes care of 70% of skill development but in India, we look up to the government only to do this. It is time the industry took on a bigger responsibility," he said.