Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation highlighted how The CII Partnership Summit could be an ideal platform to forge linkages. He pointed out that in his discussions with the UAE delegation, he highlighted how the State of Maharashtra could contribute towards enhancing the food security of the UAE. He was addressing the plenary session on “The Inclusions Dynamics- A Digital Wireframe for All” during The CII Partnership Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra.
The Minister stated that Maharashtra is a developed and forward looking state. It has put a tremendous emphasis on developing the infrastructure and food and agriculture sectors in the state. He stated that Maharashtra is open to greater investment in these sectors. In terms of infrastructure, he highlighted that the Metro line in Mumbai was being developed and there were major expansion plans for the railways as well.
Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra stated that Maharashtra is going to lead the way in terms of digital transformation in India while still keeping in mind the values of accountability, partnerships, and benefiting both, business and society.
Mr. Fadnavis spoke on the four cornerstones of development that he believes can be achieved by a digital transformation. He said that as India moves towards a digital economy, the following four cornerstones are of great importance: accountability, efficiency, transparency, and inclusivity. Mr. Fadnavis also discussed the need for digital literacy and cyber security and said that ₹1,000 crore was invested in the latter. He mentioned how the farmer loan waiver conducted on a digital platform saved ₹12,000 crore and said that robust connectivity in rural areas is a priority.
The Chief Minister said, “Maharashtra is a powerhouse of the Indian industry. It has been the most favoured destination for foreign direct investment and, last year, we attracted 42% of the entire FDI that came to India. So, global investors have shown great faith in Maharashtra and, for the past 4 years, we have been working on the ease of doing business so that investments are hassle free.” Speaking of investment from abroad, he said that over $7 billion has been invested through MAHARERA. He stated that Maharashtra currently contributes 15% of the total GDP of the country. The state was targeting to raise that share to 20% and make it a trillion dollar economy by 2025.
Mr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, 5F World talked about progress in distribution and logistics. He added that this should be extended to the rural area to ensure that every Indian is able to take advantage of digital development.
Mr. Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chief Executive, India Inc. Group explained that the three biggest challenges he sees for the government is ensuring that advancements in the digital and technological space are inclusive, that they create real jobs, and that they engage and empower women within the work force.
Mr. Siddharth Shetty, Fellow, iSPIRT Foundation shared information on how software companies are thinking of digital development in India. He said, “India was primarily services driven, but what we are now seeing is that the value in building services products far exceeds simply providing services for other software companies.”
Mr. S V R Srinivas, Principal Secretary -I T, Government of Maharashtra added, “Drones, AI [artificial intelligence], and Blockchain are the major sectors that need to be covered. Blockchain is our key, fundamental focus.” He also said that the government must anticipate the areas where jobs can be created and leverage digital development for the implementation of policy.
The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Claude Smadja, President of Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory, Switzerland.