- Subhash Desai, Minister of Industries, Government of Maharashtra
"In contribution to Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s vision of Make in India, the Maharashtra Government recently announced ´Make in Maharashtra´. As part of this initiative, while the state government is eyeing Rs 5 lakh crore industrial investments across Maharashtra, 20 lakh jobs are likely to be generated,¨ says Subhash Desai, Minister of Industries, Government of Maharashtra. And with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announcing his plans to transform India´s commercial hub and state capital Mumbai, Desai shares the industrial transformation that could come about in tOte-a-tOte with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
What is your vision for Make in Maharashtra?
While Make in India is the ultimate goal, Maharashtra is an important part and will play a major role in realising this dream. So, we are actively working towards achieving the first agenda: ease of doing business. Industries complain about the hassles, including the time taken for clearances and the money spent. There is a loss of both time and money. In that direction, we are now trying to reduce the number of permissions from 76 to 25.
Which permissions have been eradicated?
There were river regulations; the distance between the actual river water and the plant or factory was stipulated to be 2,000 m or 2 km. Even a slightly shorter distance created complications. For example, Schindler Lifts has set up a beautiful factory in Chakan near Pune. But their distance happened to be 1,978 m, which is just 22 m short. So we conducted in-depth studies to learn that Maharashtra is the only state to have a river regulation zone. If no state in the country has introduced this system, why should we follow this? We took a bold decision and our cabinet decided to do away with this system. This regulation has been removed totally and a number of factories can now start production.
Also, for 20,000 sq m or above, every project required environment clearance. We have abolished the need for this. Further, there is a dual permission system in municipal areas or municipal corporation areas; permissions had to be taken from MIDC as well as the municipal corporation, provided the MIDC area falls within the limit of the municipal corporation. We have removed one of these two conditions, wherein the municipal permission is not required now. Further, in case of electricity or power connection, initially it was 67 days before they could get actual supply. We have reduced this period; now, within 21 days from the application, industrialists will get power supply to their projects.
Moreover, any commercial or industrial construction within the Mumbai Municipal Corporation requires as many as 27 clearances in post. Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s announcement of the need to improve ease of doing business, he has asked the corporation to reduce these clearances to 11. Thus, where 162 days were required to seek 27 clearances, 11 permissions will be granted within 60 days. Reduction in the process directly relates to reduction in timeframe.
Have all these measures already been implemented, or are these mere announcements?
It has almost started. As per the Mumbai Shop and Establishment Act, we have now enforced the municipal corporation to accept online applications and give permissions online. Otherwise, every shopkeeper has to visit the ward office time and again. Unlike the case earlier, where multiple applications like Shop Act Establishment and Sales Tax were required, one single application is the requirement now. Also, the corporation has been asked to totally computerise property registration and records so tax payers can easily add their officers or shop, access the website and get related information and data. You may ask why this did not happen earlier. The answer is 15 years of bad governance in Maharashtra. Now, the time for change has come at both the Centre and State levels. We are marching towards responding to the aspirations of the people and delivering the desired changes.
You mentioned the Prime Minister´s aim to improve India´s ranking on the ease-of-doing-business index. Will Maharashtra take the lead in this?
Maharashtra has always been a preferred destination for industries. While there were a few glitches in between, we are eliminating all these hurdles and once again several mega projects and other industries are willing to happily establish themselves in the state. However, inviting mega projects is not the only dream; we have promised to provide employment to all. Excessive manpower is engaged in agriculture and it cannot sustain this burden. A portion of this will need to be diverted to some other field, which is industry. The new generation of farmers can easily be absorbed in industrial activities. Every government is committed to creating jobs, but who delivers is the question. We are certainly trying to deliver.
There is already a huge pocket of around 300-plus German companies (especially from the automobile industry) that have manufacturing facilities at Chakan in Pune. With the Make in Maharashtra initiative, in which areas do you see such industrial hubs being created?
We are trying to develop industrial estates into cluster industries that are sector-specific. For instance, in Amravati, we have developed a Textile Park and issues related to textile industries are addressed there. Also, we have encouraged some factories that are processing maize to make different products. If the factory is established, the customer base, which would include farmers, is set around the factory. So the farmers get a better price and assured supply and the factory gets its raw material easily. In this way, clusters can be encouraged. Going forward, the Supa Industrial Area near Pune is going to be a big industrial estate. Then, for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), we have already acquired the land for DMIC Shendra near Aurangabad. Several industries could come up there.
What is the current status on the DMIC project?
We have set up a JV company to handle this project and have started developing infrastructure. We will eventually announce schemes to attract industries.
Also, does MIDC in Maharashtra have a sufficient land bank?
Land is available as of today, but we need more land for future development. In this direction, we have requested the Union Government to exempt us from the Land Acquisition Act. This application is pending and we are pursuing it because we are following one act. Our acquisition is based on the 1962 Maharashtra Industrial Development Act. We negotiate and get the land after the consent of farmers or land owners. There is no price-related issue as this is negotiated. Hence, we should be exempted from the Land Acquisition Act.
Although Maharashtra continues to lead the race for investments, of late many projects are choosing other states, attracted by more ´investment-friendly´ policies. Will the 2013 Industrial Policy of the state be revisited in this light?
The situation was evident in the past 10 years, but no more. And, the 2013 Industrial Policy is very good, but it was not implemented. Now, we are trying to promote the policy, based on which we can have good industrial development in the state.
Also, how do you view the Chief Minister´s vision of Mumbai Next, contributing to the plan of Make in Maharashtra?
Make in Maharashtra speaks of manufacturing activities. Manufacturing and trading are commercial activities; they go hand in hand and cannot survive independently. Mumbai is India´s commercial capital and many global companies have their offices here. When they promote commercial activities, it automatically reflects in the development of manufacturing. When we promote Make in Maharashtra, many manufacturing units will be here. Similarly, Mumbai is inviting and creating an atmosphere for commercial growth. So it will be a win-win situation.
As part of Mumbai Next, several financial centres will come up and large infrastructure projects, including delayed projects, will be fast-tracked. What impact will this have on industrial growth?
In the next five years, there will be great transformation in infrastructure development. Crucial projects, including the Navi Mumbai Airport, coastal road and trans-harbour link, will take off. This development will bring in industries, manufacturing activities and development of commercial hubs. With this, in the next few years, Maharashtra will not be competing with other states of India but with other nations.
How will the industries´ ministry contribute to the Mumbai Next plan?
We will provide all the required support and our one-point agenda is to make everything smooth and hassle-free. We have an industrial policy and the IT policy particularly is being revised. We are also going to introduce the electronic policy soon.
What are the challenges for the ministry to achieve the visions of Make in Maharashtra and Mumbai Next?
The main challenge is to remove this stigma of bad governance that has been developed in previous years. Our programme is to show our willingness to offer a proactive government and proactive department of industries. We are targeting an industrial growth of 13 per cent and increase the share of industries to 28 per cent in the gross state domestic product (GSDP).
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