New Delhi: Themed at “Building Sustainable North for Tomorrow” , for the year , Mr Vijay Thadani , newly elected , Chairman CII , Northern Region and CEO , NIIT , presented CII’s multi progonged approach strategy to make sustainable , futuristic and inclusive North based upon set of areas to focus on intensively .
Elaborating on the focus areas for CII Northern Region for the year, Mr Thadani said that attracting greater share of investments would be the key priority. “Many of the northern states have progressive policy environment and infrastructure is improving too. What is now required is proper implementation of the policies”, he added.
Expressing that the region has not received a proportionate share of investments, Mr Thandani elaborated that in knowledge economy, availability of skilled people is a prerequisite for attracting investments. He announced that CII would be setting up four Centres of Excellence on Skills in the region, each catering to a set of specific trades. He also announced setting up of University – Industry Partnerships on the lines of the ongoing initiatives at the Delhi University and the Punjab Technical University. Scope of these partnerships would include setting up of finishing schools for students, providing research opportunities to faculty and assisting in curriculum upgradation. “We plan to set up one partnership each in Chandigarh, Punjab, UP, Rajasthan & Uttarakhand.”, he informed.
On lines of the Skills Development Centre at Parwanoo, CII will also come up with a technology enabled regional centre of excellence on skill development at Bhiwadi. The centre will act as a repository of industry certified curriculum for specific trades, will run the training programmes and will provide services such as assessment and certification, he informed.
CII would also undertake some project based initiatives for under privileged youth under CII’s mandate of Affirmative Action. Mr Thadani apprised that under CII’s Nawanshahr project, a District Development Plan has already been prepared along with a skill gap study. The Study identifies machine operators, electrical winding, electronics and automobile repairing, multipurpose health workers and IT enabled services as potential areas for skills development.
With about 86 % of membership being MSMEs, thrust will be to help them develop access to knowledge, resources & markets by starting mentoring services for MSMEs by large companies & special leadership talks to create vision for transitioning into large companies. For this, “CII will set up a MSME Help Desk at CII NR headquarters, to provide expert advice to MSMEs on operational, marketing & strategic and legal issues” , announced the chairman.
Mr Thadani also informed that CII will step up its business development initiative for MSMEs through direct buyer seller meets like the well appreciated ones at Haridwar, Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Jaipur, last year.
In continuation to our existing MoUs with Australia & Scotland, for bilateral trade, Mr Thadani informed that CII will explore newer markets in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia and some of the other Asian countries through international missions for learning and business development. For this CII would undertake a Survey to determine international business markets our members want to access, shared Mr Thadani.
Announcing the Tax Advisory desk at Chandigarh, to resolve the membership tax enquiries, the chairman also touched upon the issue of GST . “ Lack of consensus amongst the state governments is the major hurdle and one of our prime task this year would be to to play a proactive role in bringing state governments on board” told Mr Thadani
In addition to tax advocacy work, we are also focusing on creating a body of knowledge through our series of publications “talking north” which focuses on benchmarking the progress of Northern Region, he further informed.
Mr Thadani termed sustainable agriculture, Industrial relations and better economic reforms and stronger infrastructure as the missing pieces of the puzzle to attract better investments in North
Presenting these thrust areas to build upon; Mr Thadani acknowledged the pivotal role of agriculture in the region. “Small landholdings leading to subsistence agriculture, inadequate investment in agri infrastructure and inadequate market linkages are the key challenges in agriculture today”. CII has always supported acts like and Leasing Act and APMC Act which allows for consolidation of land without ownership changing hands and encourage private sector investments, enabling farmers, better price, respectively. Through its initiatives like Agro Tech 2010, and agri conclaves at various places, CII reached farmers with best and next farming techniques. “Encouraged by our first time organized events like Apple Fest, Basmati Rice, we have now planned Saffron and Walnut festival”, the newly elected chairman informed.
Speaking about the critical area of Energy Efficiency, Mr Thadani mooted for CII s participation in consultative process through out the region, as power tarrifs impact industry significantly.
Proposing to focus on water audits and awareness sessions on Rain Water Harvesting and Zero Water Discharge, Mr Thadani informed about the availability of expertise at Water institute at Jaipur , which now is functional.
Synonymous to inclusive growth the chairman shared CII’s developmental initiatives like CII’s Leh Relief and Rehab project, which provided immediate relief in 21 locations, undertook to rebuild 13 destroyed houses in Saboo village, 2 of which were handed over to the beneficiaries by the Union Home Minister, Mr P Chidambaram in November.
“Further to this, CII will now be building the remaining 11 houses and also starting vocational training programmes to help the people of the area find livelihoods.”, informed, Mr Thadani. In addition will, CII will take carry forward its other social initiatives under the Ability drive which attempts to provide livelihood opportunities to the differently-abled in the mainstream corporate jobs; and Social Expo to provide marketing opportunities the products made by NGOs and Self Help Groups through our Social Expo, added Mr Thadani.
On the occasion, Mr Thadani also released the report on “Investment Climate- A Report on Northern States of India”.