On the day when the UAE celebrated its 50th National Day, Maharashtra concluded its participation in the India Pavilion at Expo Dubai UAE 2020. Maharashtra’s two-week period started on November 19, 2021, where the art, culture, heritage, infrastructure and industrial prowess was showcased.
Maharashtra is one of the most developed economies in India and the state has a lot to offer, both in terms of its soft power (art, culture, heritage, tourism, etc.) and business attractiveness (infrastructure, industry, investments, policy, etc.). True to its image, Maharashtra represented the state in a holistic manner with more than 15 state departments coming together to reveal to the world what Maharashtra stands for and what the state’s achievements are. In addition to the participation, the state government engaged the Marathi diaspora in UAE with a strong inaugural programme and an evening cultural programme that was attended by more than 800 Maharashtrians residing in UAE.
The core theme of Maharashtra’s participation was ‘Realizing the Trillion Dollar Economy’, and 12 sub-themes that come together to showcase Maharashtra’s vision for the future. Not only did the state represent infrastructure and industry, but also its tourism, culture, forests and what the state is doing for the upliftment of farmers, women, children and labour.
Expo 2020 is the first global event in the aftermath of the pandemic and has seen tremendous participation. It provides an excellent platform for each country to engage with the global business community. Almost one lakh people visited the Maharashtra pavilion during its 14-day participation and were greeted with a display of Maharashtra’s tradition and vision.
The state also saw significant business engagement in the UAE and the Expo. The Industries Department and the MIDC, headed by Minister of Industries, Subhash Desai, ACS (Industries) Baldev Singh and CEO, MIDC, Dr P. Anbalagan, went all out in their efforts to bring investments to Maharashtra and successfully signed 25 MoUs worth INR 15,620 cr (USD 2 bn) in key thrust sectors such as Auto & Auto Components, Logistics, EV, Textiles, Data Center, Pharma, Bio-fuels and Energy.
Companies from six countries — Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Korea, Germany and Italy — have agreed to invest in Maharashtra. The state also signed an MoU with an Africa-India Economic Foundation for bilateral trade and co-operation. Minister and senior officials from Industries Department also engaged with global MNCs such as Honeywell, DP World, Tabreed, Sharaf Group, Virgin Hyperloop, etc. in one-to-one discussions about future co-operation.
The industries department also held knowledge sharing and networking sessions with key investors in thrust sectors such as food processing, social infrastructure, AVGC and logistics. Not only did the Government represent its opportunities, but also business delegates from large Indian corporates evangelised the Maharashtra story. At the CEO Conclave sector, champions in sectors of EV, infrastructure, pharma, etc. spoke at length about why Maharashtra is one of the best places to invest in India. Furthermore, a panel discussion was held with the Minister in the panel to discuss the roadmap for Realizing the Trillion Dollar economy.
While the business participation was spearheaded by the Industries Department, other departments too engaged with global counterparts present in Dubai for the Expo. MoUs were signed by Tourism Department, MMRDA, Skills Department and Women & Child Development Department during the two weeks Maharashtra participation. The departments also held knowledge leadership roundtables, fireside chats and one-to-one meetings with their respective global counterparts and corporates. Such a high level of engagement and the willingness of Government of Maharashtra to engage with the global business community is what distinguishes Maharashtra and has helped the state become numero uno in economic development, FDI and exports.
The world is slowly opening up after a two-year pause and a pro-active approach in catalysing the economy by garnering investments in the state is essential for the state’s economic growth and financial stability. The goal of reaching a trillion-dollar economy can only be reached with a collective effort from the Government, its business representatives and its residents. Maharashtra has been a pioneer on many fronts, be it culture, social, technology, infrastructure, or industry; and it is by continuing to innovate and engage only that it can hold on to its pole position.
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