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CM urges India Inc. to revive business environment, create jobs

Frank talk: The Chief Minister assured industry captains of a business-friendly environment in the State over the next five years.

Frank talk: The Chief Minister assured industry captains of a business-friendly environment in the State over the next five years.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Industrialists commend Uddhav for speaking ‘with passion, from the heart’

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has assured industrialists that the new three-party government under his leadership will not work with a vendetta against business deals signed by the previous regime.

Mr. Thackeray promised top CEOs and industrialists a basket of incentives for businesses agreeing to promote employment for local youth, while assuring a business-friendly environment in the State over the next five years. In his first interaction with top corporate honchos, the Shiv Sena leader urged the corporates to help Mumbai become a global tourism hub and transform cities like Pune, often called the Oxford of the East, into global educational centres on the lines of Oxford.

The interaction at State guest house Sahyadri was attended by industry captains, including Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Adi Godrej, Sajjan Jindal, Uday Kotak, Deepak Parekh, Gautam Singhania and Baba Kalyani.

Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the government will develop 66 urban forests in Mumbai, and at the same time work to promote night life in the financial capital.

‘Fabulous talk’

Industrialists told The Hindu they left the meeting impressed with the CM’s honest appeal to revive the State’s business environment and attempts at fostering a personal bond with each of them.

“It was a fabulous talk, he was unprepared and spoke from the heart, as he was not supposed to speak. Everyone went and congratulated Uddhav Thackeray that the star of the show was none of us, but Aaditya Thackeray,” RPG Group chairman Harsh Goenka told The Hindu.

Mr. Goenka suggested making Pune a global educational centre, and tapping into investments in manufacturing moving away from China. “A lot of manufacturing is running away from China, and Vietnam is taking away 50% of those investments. Why cannot Maharashtra [focus on] getting those investments and becoming a manufacturing hub driven by electronics?” he asked.

Industrialist Venugopal Dhoot told The Hindu, “For the industrial growth of Maharashtra, [the CM] is ready to help the corporates at any level. If any corporate comes to him at midnight ready to create jobs, he will go to any extent to help him. Further, he was more interested in dispersal of industry in backward areas. He also emphasised that his government will give maximum benefits to those who give employment to locals.”

Others present in the meeting said the Chief Minister spoke with a lot of passion towards the policies which would help facilitate future investments. He is said to have told industrialists, “I am there for you to serve you, and you all need to invest in Maharashtra and not anywhere else. Let me know how we can help. We will meet every three months to discuss issues. This is an action-oriented government, and we will continuously take feedback and action accordingly.”

One industrialist said it was a rare meeting where “everybody felt happy”. “We attend so many meetings by chief ministers and political leaders, where you go just to fill the quorum. But here, he was speaking with passion and from the heart. He was treating the businessmen like family, and not like ‘I am the master and you are the slave’,” the industrialist said.

Raymond Ltd. CMD Gautam Singhania said the meeting was very fruitful. “I urged the Chief Minister to enhance the quality of infrastructure and public transport in Maharashtra and more specifically in Mumbai, which is the commerce capital of India,” Mr. Singhania said.

Uday Kotak, president designate of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said business and industry would strongly support the CM’s vision, and the CII is committed to work with the government for the development of the State. “At around 15%, Maharashtra contributes highest to the Indian GDP. Mumbai can play a significant role in being the financial capital of the world, and the State should leverage significant opportunity in the Fintech space,” he said.

‘Clear roadmap’

Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group, and Ashok Hinduja, chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies (India), said the CM had clearly laid down the roadmap to make the State into a $1 trillion economy. “His blue print had a clear emphasis on building more industry, upgrade health and education facilities, give boost to tourism in order to create more jobs, coupled with policy-friendly governance to increase ease of doing business. The single most important business-friendly message to all of us he gave with humility was to consider [that] it’s your own government and one that listens — come and work with us hand in hand,” the Hindujas said.

For Anand Piramal, executive director of Piramal Group, the meeting had a great symbolic significance as it recognised the critical role that companies can play in nation building. “The State can and wants to play a greater role in the revitalisation of the real estate sector. The Chief Minister listened to both our constructive feedback and suggestions, and committed to take actions to simplify and shorten the approval process as well as to rationalise ready reckoner rates to make real estate more affordable, in order to boost consumer sentiment,” Mr. Piramal said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:53:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cm-urges-india-inc-to-revive-business-environment-create-jobs/article30507632.ece

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