While Maharashtra enjoys numero uno position in many areas in the country, the challenge will be maintaining that position with many other states competing to take the position. This was stressed on during the ‘Transformation of Maharashtra -- Industry Revitalised’ webinar session by the expert panel.
The panelists for the session were P Anbalagan, CEO, MIDC; Ajit Ranade, Group Executive President and Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group; and B Thiagarajan, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Western Region. The session was moderated by RN Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, Free Press Journal.
Speaking at the session, P Anbalagan stated, “54 MoUs have been signed during the pandemic.” Out of the 54 companies, 36 companies have already been given land and are in the final stages of land allotment. “Barring one company, 53 companies would have invested in the state by May end.” He added that Maharashtra is a leader, was a leader and will continue to be a leader. “At the same time, the state should ensure that complacency does not seep into the system.” He further stated that being a frontrunner for almost six decades, it had to cope with other states that have begun to become competitive.
Adding to it, B Thiagarajan stated, “Maharashtra is an undisputed leader in automobiles. But now it is about diversification.” He stressed there are certain sectors that the state will have to focus on like gems and jewellry. To which, Ranade mentioned the state will have to chalk out a futuristic strategy for growth. It will have to look at innovation, artificial intelligence, automation among other areas. “Maharashtra is second when it comes to innovation.” Ranade stated the state is not far behind in the race but it has to speed up.
Maharashtra contributes to one-seventh of the country's industrial output and one-fourth of exports. “Being number one is not enough, the inter-state competition is intensifying. So being in the first place is good but being able to maintain that position is what matters.”
The state has a target to become a trillion dollar economy. Commenting on that, Ranade added, “If this pandemic-induced recession did not exist, and the state was growing at 10-12 per cent, then Maharashtra could have become a trillion economy in the next five-six years.” The state still has the potential to become a trillion dollar economy from the present USD 400 billion economy. But the time period to achieve this will be more than five-six years. There are only five or six sub-national economies in the world that have achieved the trillion-dollar mark. However, he observed, “Maharashtra is a state which observes the popular saying aadhi kele mag sangitle (first do the task and then tell).”
B Thiagarajan recalled his three decades of experience and understanding of the state and the financial city, Mumbai. He said in the early 80s there was a fear that Mumbai (then Bombay) would collapse but this city has learned to evolve and reinvent itself. “Maharashtra's ability to endure change is remarkable.” He lauded the efforts of the authorities to continue with the coastal and other infrastructure projects even during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Ranade stated that one best ways to boost the economy will be by recognising three or four high-profile big-ticket projects which will give an impetus to revive the economy. He strongly believes this will support MSMEs which is one of the largest employers and contributor to the economy. MIDC is also supporting MSMEs with its plug and play infrastructure, added Anbalagan.
The mood, said Thiagarajan is upbeat. The mood of the private sector is to invest even those investments that are planned for several years later. Various government schemes announced by the centre and the state have encouraging companies to go ahead and invest. “Large companies and MSMEs are convinced that the next five years will be a huge growth period for India.”