“If you expect that investments worth multi-millions will be made during this event, don’t be under that impression. This is a brand-building exercise. With the successful conduct of Make in India Week, we have laid the foundation for good investment roadmap. Now everything depends on how we take this ahead,” a senior IAS officer told The Sunday Guardian when asked about the effect of Make in India Week which was held at Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex from 13-18 February.
Over the week, 2,000 foreign companies and 9,000 Indian companies participated in the expo, said the Indian government. MoUs worth Rs 15 lakh crore were signed. Half of them were signed with Maharashtra alone. Senior government officials admitted that they had been working on the deals for months, and they timed it around Make in India Week. Even as critics voiced scepticism that hardly 20% of such investment commitments would fructify, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was confident that at least 80-85% MoUs would reach their logical conclusion.
“All these proposals have been vetted by various departments of our government. The work on this has been going on for the past few months,” he said.
When asked about the significance of the week, BJP’s ally in the state, Shiv Sena said, “Events of such huge magnitude bring together all the stake-holders and open possibilities of unforeseen business opportunities.” Sena leader Neelam Gorhe also added that the organisation of such events improved the credibility of the state in the international fraternity. Incidentally, the week brought together Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis, after infighting marred their equation for more than a year now. Thackeray showered praises on Fadnavis for the event, and Fadnavis thanked him for Sena support. The selfie of the two leaders posted by Fadnavis later, went viral.
“It was the biggest industrial expo in Asia which created avenues for showcasing, connecting and collaborating for manufacturing in India. It was a platform where global CEOs, think tanks, policymakers, diplomats and political leaders converged,” Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said at a press event here.
Make in India week saw the attendance of over 1000 CEOs and CXOs, 15 Chief Ministers and state ministers, 13 Government of India ministers, 4,000 foreign delegates, apart from 20 Prime Ministers, Deputy PMs and Foreign Ministers.
6,800 business-to-business meetings, 1,400 business-to-government meetings and 45 government-to-government meetings were held during this period.
Big names like Mahindra & Mahindra, Asendas, Yes Bank, Sterlite Group, Raymond Industries, ORACLE inked deals worth several crores. Many state governments also announced attractive industrial policies during this period. Many industry leaders participated in the discussions held over the week.
But sceptics raised questions about the importance of organising such events at such huge costs. Training his guns on the government, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray asked why the event was not held in New Delhi. “Signing MoUs doesn’t mean investment has taken place,” he added, questioning the rationale behind spending huge amounts.
The Nationalist Congress Party suggested that the Maharashtra government should have also showcased its drought and farmers’ suicides during the week. Asking why huge sums were spent on the event, the party said the government could have helped the farmers and drought-stricken populations with that money.