BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by ByteGraph
Atlanta, GA: The Consulate General of India in Atlanta hosted a Make in India Exhibition & Reception at City Club of Buckhead,Atlanta, on January 19, 2015. The exhibition and reception was attended by over 140 leading community activists, distinguished professionals and Georgia’s mainstream and Asian American business elite and graced by the presence of the Guest of Honor, Atlanta City Council member, Kwanza Hall, Consul General of Nigeria Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, Consul of Hungary John Parkerson, President,World Trade Center, Atlanta, Dawn Ely and R. Srinivasan from the Consulate General of India, Atlanta.
The Consul General of India in Atlanta, Ambassador Ajit Kumar welcomed all and thanked the guests for attending the Exhibition. In a very eloquent, informative speech citing up-to-date facts and statistics, Ajit Kumar began with paying his homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He said Dr. King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and had written about “My Trip to Land of Gandhi” in 1957. He quoted, “It was wonderful to be in Gandhi’s land….I left India more convinced than ever before that non-violent resistance is the most potent weapon available to the oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”
Ajit Kumar then explained the “Make in India” initiative visualized by India’s Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The India Story which began with 1990s economic liberalization needs to be revitalized with a new chapter – Make in India, with its logo being a striding lion made of cogs symbolizing manufacturing, strength and national pride. Envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th September, 2014, the Make in India program is Government of India’s blueprint to convert the country into a global hub of manufacturing, design and innovation. We have identified 25 sectors where India has the core competency to emerge as a global champion. India is uniquely positioned for such a project: its large, primarily young, and mostly educated population makes for an ideal workforce that is skilled and available for hire at a competitive price. On the other hand, they double up as a vast consumer market.
The initiatives are designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, protect intellectual property and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure by introducing new de-licensing and de-regulation measures to reduce complexity and significantly increase speed and transparency. Moreover,India’s manufacturing infrastructure and capacity for innovation is poised for phenomenal growth: new smart cities and industrial clusters, being developed in identified industrial corridor having connectivity, new youth-focused programs and institutions dedicated to developing specialized skills. Most importantly, the program represents an attitudinal shift in how India relates to investors: not as permit-issuing authority but as true business partner.
PM Modi had launched a website, www.makeinindia.com, informing prospective investors about various sectors to explore like automobiles, space, aviation, biotechnology, chemicals, construction, electrical machinery, food processing, defense manufacturing, IT and BPM, leather, railways, wellness… Live projects like Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), featured in KPMG’s 100 most Innovative Global Projects as one of the world’s most innovative and inspiring infrastructure projects, seeks to create a strong economic base with a globally competitive environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure to activate local commerce, enhance investments and attain sustainable development. DMIC is being developed as a global manufacturing and investment destination utilizing the 1,483 km-long, high capacity western Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor (DFC) as the backbone.
The objective is to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP of the country and to create smart sustainable cities where manufacturing will be the key economic driver. The Indian Government has taken several legislative and policy level initiatives to create a conducive environment for the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights of innovators and creators by bring about changes.
To give global recognition to Indian economy Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched the Make inIndiainitiative, urging Investors to look towardsIndiaas not merely a market but as an opportunity. Indiais the only country in the world which offers the unique combination of democracy, demography, and demand. The Government is taking initiatives for skill development to ensure that skilled manpower was available for manufacturing. The digitalIndiamission would ensure that Government processes remained in tune with corporate processes.
Moving on to India-US Relations, Ajit Kumar said, “After the very successful visit of Prime Minister Modi in September last year toUSA, this is a defining time in US-India relations. President Obama will visitIndiabecoming the first US Head of State to attendIndia’s Republic Day on 26th January and the onlyUSPresident to visitIndiatwice. His historic visit will take our strategic partnership to the next level.
The India-US strategic partnership is rooted in our shared democratic values which is now broad based and multi-sectoral. Bilateral partnership enjoys bipartisan support in both countries. In fact, it covers every endeavor of human pursuit. The trade between our nations has increased five-fold since 2001 to $100 billion. In September meeting, PM Modi and President Obama had committed to increasing trade to another fivefold to $500 billion which will create thousands of jobs inIndiaand US. For example, in the defense field, theUShas become the largest supplier of defense equipment in the last 3 years and active discussions continue in identifying avenues for co-production and development. Already some items for heavylift C130J aircraft are being produced by Tatas inHyderabadin their joint venture with Lockheed Martin inMarietta.
Since Prime Minister’s visit to US in September, several key meetings have been held which would expand the cooperation betweenIndiaandUnited Statesalso in the field of manufacturing, for example, India-US Trade Policy Forum met inDelhilast month to deepen bilateral engagement across the sectors. USAis already one of the biggest investors inIndiatoday with over $30 billion investments in various sectors.
The U.S. government had welcomed India’s offer for U.S. industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).The Prime Minister would welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India’s infrastructure needs with U.S. technology and services. US had a 100 strong delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry as a partner country in Vibrant Gujarat Summit. President of US-India Business Council had stated that $41 billion investments are in pipeline.
For ease of business and tourist travelers, Indiahas introduced the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme from November 27, 2014. The information and instructions for the TVoA enabled with ETA is available on the link: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and on the Consulate website: www.indianconsulateatlanta.org
With the Modi Government bringing in the second generation of Indian reforms, investors worldwide have a golden opportunity to come, Make inIndia, and invest in the global powerhouse of tomorrow, he concluded.
City Council Member, Kwanza Hall conveyed the Atlanta Mayor’s greetings to all and said, “It is a very solemn day for us as we celebrate the legacy of Dr.King and of course the legacy of Gandhi. I am excited about the trip that has been arranged by the U.S.State Department. A group of six people have been selected from around the country and we will be visitingDelhi,Bangalore,Hyderabadand Dehradun. We want to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation so it is appropriate to talk about it today and the success story that your Prime Minister has presented to us and what he has done in his life and so many of you have done in your lives as entrepreneurs will assure you of a bright future in the nation and your country or diaspora and we want to be a part of it.”
The Founder ofUSAIndiaBusinessSummit; current Chairman of IACA; and President of Asian American Heritage Foundation, Ani Agnihotri remarked, “On behalf of the leadership here, I would like to thank Consul Ajit Kumar to take this initiative in inviting all of us to Make in India Summit. Make in India Summit organized a small seminar on December 8 about manufacturing inIndia. Fifteen years from now Indian economy is likely to be $30 trillion.Yes. Trillion with a capital T.”So please believe inIndia.”
“Please give us a chance to invite you toIndiato see the great piece of work that Modi and his administration has initiated,” he added.
After the screening of a riveting video to pitch the innovative measures and entrepreneurial projects to woo the potential investors, copies of a glossy and informative brochure Make inIndiawere handed out to the attendees by the Consulate.
Bhojanic-catered delectable snacks were served after the video presentation.