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Monday, July 16, 2018

‘Make in Mumbai’ takes a backseat amid ‘Make in India’ buzz

Seminar doesn’t have adequate representatives to talk about city’s needs.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2016 2:00:19 am
A boy clicks a selfie with the Make in India mascot outside the BMC office. (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar) A boy clicks a selfie with the Make in India mascot outside the BMC office. (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

The glossy brochures of the ambitious ‘Make in India Week’ promise that a special seminar on Mumbai will position the city as the ultimate destination for technology, business and design, rope in the world’s best architects, and present ideas on successful urban planning. However, beyond the brochures, the finer blueprint shows that the much-touted ‘Make in Mumbai’ seminar maybe somewhat less ambitious.

Barring a few representatives from the construction industry, the programme doesn’t feature a single architect or urban planner, whether domestic or international, to talk about best practices in urban infrastructure. Similarly, though the BJP-led state government plans to showcase Mumbai as a media and entertainment hub, besides as an ace financial centre, the ‘Make in Mumbai’ programme shows there is just one entertainment industry representative, and no special sessions on this topic.

Hussain Indorewala, assistant professor at Kamla Raheja Architecture College, said, “There seems to be nothing new in this event. It is not the big business leaders and bureaucrats who represent the city.”

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Swadheen Kshatriya, Maharashtra chief secretary, said, the state government’s IT policy, which covers the gaming, animation and studios, and offers fiscal incentives, will be discussed during the ‘Make in Mumbai’ session, and will boost the government’s efforts. “Though these apply across the state, we will highlight Mumbai as a prime location since it is already home to many media and entertainment firms,” he said.

However, industry representatives say there is a lot that needs to be done on ground to promote the entertainment, animation and visual effects industry, and create an enabling atmosphere in Mumbai.

Merzin Tavaria, chief creative director, Prime Focus, a visual effects technology provider, said, “I am yet to see what the IT policy offers, but we will be happy to engage with the government on how this industry can be taken forward. Currently, it is difficult to work out of Mumbai and hire talent here because of the high costs. It will help to have special IT parks of Special Economic Zones for the industry for the overall costs to come down.”

As per the draft programme schedule, the ‘Make in Mumbai’ seminar will include an overview of industrial sector by Hinduja Group Chairman Ashok Hinduja and an overview of the financial sector by Yes Bank CEO Rana Kapoor. The opening address, which civic chief Ajoy Mehta will deliver, will be about Mumbai as a global business destination.

There will also be a 50-minute session to be moderated by BBC Future Editor Richard Fisher, on how Mumbai is a ‘NextGen city,’ which will have one panelist from the entertainment industry, film director Sudhir Mishra. This will be followed by an hour-long session on Mumbai as a business destination, which will include Bombay Stock Exchange Managing Director Ashish Chauhan, Reliance Industries Executive Director Nikhil Meswani, and three government representatives as panelists. During the seminar, the government will release a coffee table book on Mumbai.

Other speakers from the private sector include Purushottam Kaushik, managing director of sales growth at CISCO India, Meru Cabs Managing Director Neeraj Gupta, Anu Madgavkar from the McKinsey Global Institute, iCare Learning CEO Rajesh Ghatge, Equiris Capital Managing Director Ajay Garg, and Rahul Maroo, vice president at Construction & Real Estate Industry. From the government’s side, besides Mehta, the CM, chief secretary, mayor, Mumbai’s police commissioner, MMRDA Commissioner, and home secretary will attend as speakers.

However, Mehta said the government has got on board experts from all industries it plans to focus on, be it IT, finance, media industry, and building constructions. “There is huge interest from across the world in India with regards to investments. We are highlighting Mumbai’s features like the most young educated population, urban infrastructure, and the fact that it remains the safest city in India,” he said.

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