Maharashtra with advantages like good law and order and superior connectivity across various regions of the state has grown into an automobile, manufacturing and IT hub with a large number of investors drawn to the state from both domestic and international markets, says Vijay Singhal, Development Commissioner, Directorate of Industries, Government of Maharashtra, in an interview with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN).
Please elaborate on the growth of industries in Mumbai and its suburbs and also enlighten us on the prospects of growth in the region?
Mumbai being the business capital of the country has its own advantages of being on the coastline, enabling it to establish business relationships with its neighbouring regions easily. Over the years, Mumbai and its suburbs has grown at a fast rate and has evolved as a business centric region – creating more and more new jobs for the residents of the region. For example, Thane, though a district, being located in close proximity to Mumbai and well connected to the city it has drawn a good number of industries and people to come and work here. Further, after the planning authority Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) adopted the region, the growth and industrialisation has happened very fast in this region. Besides, a lot of urban development work is happening in the region. Thus Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane have collectively grown into a big industrial hub, creating thousands of jobs. However, the industrialisation is gradually reaching its zenith in this region and now the focus is slowly shifting to other parts of the state like Pune, Nagpur, Satara, Nashik, etc.
During the ‘Make in India’ week held last year, Maharashtra signed MoUs worth Rs 8 lakh crores with different organisations and 45 per cent of these MoUs are currently on track. Our office is constantly in touch with the MoU signatories irrespective of they being a part of a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation project, or a MSME project or if they are related to housing and tourism sector. A report published by the Government of India last year said that 50 per cent of the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the country is in Maharashtra alone. Maharashtra with advantages like good law and order and superior connectivity across various regions of the state has grown into an automobile, manufacturing and IT hub with a large number of investors drawn to the state from both domestic and international markets. Furthermore, the state has minimum labour dispute and extremely skilled labour available at a minimal cost. With all these factors coming together coupled with the central governments ambitious projects, Maharashtra has evolved into a pro-industries state. As a matter of fact, we are soon to introduce a one of its kind Women Industrial Policy.
How do you perceive the ease of doing business in Maharashtra?
Not only a favourable ecosystem or availability of skilled man-power, the ease of doing business also includes government permissions, solution to problems faced by new industrialists and simplicity in methodology required for obtaining government permits, etc. Maharashtra has set up an example in creating a wonderful ambience to support ease of doing business. For example, earlier there were about 47 permits required to construct a building, which is now reduced to about eight permissions only. Earlier, it took about 140 days to obtain government permits for any business to start, which can now be obtained within 60 days. This indicates the state government’s keenness to support more and more new business set ups. More importantly, most of the permits and other requirements to be fulfilled for setting up a business in Maharashtra are now done online and one does not need to visit various government offices. This has brought transparency to the ecosystem.
For big industries also, the Maharashtra Industries Department has opened a separate office named MAITRI, which stands for Maharashtra Industries Trade Related Investment centre. It is headed by the development commissioner of the department and there are about 44 officers from various departments including forest, pollution control, environment and several others to review and grant permits for bigger industrial projects. For this, one can apply either through a physical process or online, which in a way saves the applicants from visiting various departments for getting permits and sanctions. Furthermore, with the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) touching Aurangabad and Dighi Port region, we have acquired about 4,000 hectares of land which is again a preferred destination for investors to set up new business units in the state.
The Industries Department of Maharashtra has been one of the pioneers in adopting IT in its ecosystem for the benefit of the state and the industries in the region. MAITRI is one such example of digitisation initiative taken up by the department.
IT has been the key driving force for the functioning and growth of any sector of business. What role has IT played when it comes to its adoption in the ecosystem of the Industries Department of Maharashtra?
The Industries Department of Maharashtra has been one of the pioneers in adopting IT in its ecosystem for the benefit of the state and the industries in the region. MAITRI is one such example of digitisation initiative taken up by the department. MAITRI enables businesses to obtain around half of the 44 government permits online instantly. The department is in the process of making this entire permit system online within a span of two months. One has to fill up a single form called CAF (Combined Application Form) for all the 44 government permits which automatically gets delivered to various departments and the common feeds are auto-populated. Further, one also gets to know the time frame for obtaining each permit when applied through the online process. If the permits are not obtained on time the matter automatically gets escalated to senior authorities for scrutiny.
Another key aspect is that World Bank is ranking cities across the world for ease of doing business and facilitation involved for investors, for which they have taken into consideration both Delhi and Mumbai, which we are trying hard to extend at state levels.
Skill development is one of the key initiatives adopted by the Government of India. Is the industries department adopting any skill initiative to upscale the standard of services catered?
The Government of Maharashtra has established a separate department for skill development and entrepreneurship, headed by a minister and a secretary. There are several schemes and initiatives taken up by the department on a regular basis like ‘Pramod Mahajan Kaushal Vikas Yojana’, up-scaling of training institutes as per the requirement of small and medium entrepreneurs, which we adopt in our ecosystem and work closely with.