Business commitments to the tune of a staggering Rs 15.21 lakh crore were made during the Make In India Week, the first-of-its-kind exposition of India’s potential as a prospective manufacturing hub, held in Mumbai between February 13 and February 18, 2016.
“Make In India Week has been a phenomenal hit. It has successfully brought manufacturing, design and innovation to the centre-stage,” Amitabh Kant, secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion, said at the Make In India Week’s concluding press conference on Thursday.
Almost half of the business commitments realised during the week, around Rs 8 lakh crore, were for proposals in Maharashtra, according to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. He said the state government would be setting up a task force to be headed by the Maharashtra industries minister Subhash Desai to ensure that the agreements translate into actual investments.
According to a statement issued by the Press Information Bureau, as many as 8 lakh people, including 49,743 delegates from 102 countries, visited the Make In India Expo held at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra-Kurla Complex. This was substantially more than the number of people who attended the popular Auto Expo, the biennial exhibition of latest offerings in the motoring world, which was held in Delhi between February 5 and February 9.
Some of the key deals that were inked during the week include Anil Agarwal-led Sterlite Group company TwinStar Display Technologies agreeing to set up an LCD manufacturing unit in Maharashtra at an investment of around $10 billion; agreement between BAE Systems and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) to assemble and test M777 Howitzer field guns in India; M&M’s separate announcement to invest Rs 8,000 crore in Maharashtra; Oracle’s $400 million investment in India to set up nine incubation centres; Ascendas’s decision to invest Rs 4,571 crore in India and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers and JSW Jaigarh Port’s announcements of investing around Rs 6,000 crore each.
Among the key policy initiatives that were unveiled at the Make In India Week were the Rs 2,200 crore-electronics development fund to finance innovations, research and development in electronics manufacturing, and the National Capital Goods Policy aimed at creating an ecosystem for a globally competitive capital goods sector.
The Make In India Week, which saw each nook and corner of Mumbai get a fresh coat of paint and large billboards across the city that read: ‘From Progress to Profits’ and ‘From Friendship to Partnership’, wasn’t devoid of its share of drama either.
A cultural event organised by the Maharashtra government on February 14 at Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai took a turn for the worse when the grand stage set up to host performances from the likes of actors Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini was gutted in flames. The Bombay high court had denied permission for the event to be organised there but the state government got the necessary approval from the Supreme Court and went ahead with the programme.
Fortuitously, there was no loss of life due to the fire and the state administration, including Mumbai’s police and fire department, did a commendable job to evacuate the over-20,000 people who had congregated at the venue, including politicians and actors, to safety. But the day after the fire, considerable amount of discourse, including questions to state and central government authorities from journalists, was directed towards the fire incident.
The Make In India Week was a laudable attempt by the government to showcase the country’s potential as a manufacturing powerhouse to the world, with visitors including heads of state like the Swedish prime minister and top CEOs from the world’s largest multinational companies in attendance. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and how big or small a portion of the cumulative investment commitments materialise eventually will depend on the government’s ability to walk the talk and implement noble initiatives meant to make doing business in India easy and remunerative.
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