A recent four-day visit to Japan by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his select delegation is all set to bring in substantial investment in the state in the fields of infrastructure, energy, transport and industry. Various agreements were signed between the government and different Japanese companies in these four days. The CM has announced a special Japan desk for a "one-stop shop" for getting clearances to set up industries in the state. Moreover, he also announced the government's plan to set up a Japanese industrial park at Supa with the help of Japanese company JETRO.
The state is also likely to become the first centre in the country to manufacture electricity-run auto-rickshaws. A demonstration of the e-Trikes was given to the CM and his team by the Japanese company ElecTrike during the visit. The company's CEO expressed his desire to start the production in Maharashtra.
"These talks are still at a preliminary stage. The Japanese companies will now send their delegations here, and we will take it ahead from there. Till now, four projects are in the final stages. But we expect projects worth around Rs 20,000-25,000 crore from Japan," said Subhash Desai, Maharashtra Minister for Industries.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with the Maharashtra government. The state will now receive loans from JICA for various big ticket infrastructure projects at an interest rate of 1.75%. These projects include the much awaited Sewri-Nhava Sheva trans-harbour link. The total investment required for this 22-kilometre bridge is Rs 110,000 crore. The company has also agreed to provide aid for infrastructure development at Ajanta caves and Lonar Lake. The rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta near Aurangabad attract many Japanese tourists every year.
"JICA has started public consultations on the Mumbai Metro. It will also support the bullet train project. JICA will fast-track funding for Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project. Bidding is likely to start by December this year," Devendra Fadnavis said.
The project of bullet train joining Mumbai and Ahmedabad has also been supported by JICA, which has now agreed for a diversion of the route to include north Maharashtra's prominent city of Nashik for a stopover. This halt will help bring connectivity to the so-far neglected north Maharashtra.
Fadnavis said that Porite Corporation has decided to set up a metallurgy powder factory at Talegaon MIDC, with a total investment of Rs 200 crore in two phases. Various companies associated with water treatment, hospitality, infrastructure and IT business have shown an interest in setting up facilities in the state.
Another area where Japan has shown keen interest is the generation of solar energy. "We had a meeting with the Soft Bank head. They want to implement various solar energy projects in Maharashtra. At a time when solar energy looks promising and sustainable, and its cost of production is coming down, this is a great boost. The company wants to manufacture the equipment and material required for the generation of solar energy, in Maharashtra," Desai said.
These developments come within a month after electronics giant Foxconn announced Rs 35,000 crore investment in the state and an employment generation for 50,000 people.
Fadnavis said that Porite Corporation has decided to set up a metallurgy powder factory at Talegaon MIDC, with a total investment of Rs 200 crore in two phases.
Various companies associated with water treatment, hospitality, infrastructure, IT business, have shown an interest in setting up facilities in the state. Many of them have signed a Letter of Intent with the government.
NIDEC Corporation, which manufactures electric motors for hard drives, electronic appliances and automobiles, will send a delegation to Maharashtra to explore investment opportunities.
Boost to SMEs
Friends of Japan, an organisation of Marathi youth in Tokyo and Pune, organised a gathering of both Indian and Japanese small and medium enterprise owners in Tokyo, where many Letters of Intent were signed. Desai said the move will boost the SME sector in the state. The government also signed an MoU with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for Public-Private Co-operative actions towards the further development of Maharashtra. During the four-day visit, the CM addressed four business seminars, reviewed the workings of the bullet train, unveiled a statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar and held meetings with leading Japanese banks and business houses. He was accompanied by Industries Minister Subhash Desai and top officials of the MTDC, MIDC and MMRDA.