Karnataka bets big on defence, aerospace at Make in India conference

11th Feb 2017
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Bengaluru is hosting the Make in India -- Karnataka conference on February 13 and 14 and the state is hoping to help small and medium industries understand their place in a world where automation is fast changing the way businesses are run.

Next week’s Make in India conference is the second outside Delhi, the first having been held in Mumbai last year. The conference will be held on February 13-14 in association with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Karnataka large and medium industries minister R.V. Deshpande

Karnataka’s Medium and Large Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande, spoke to YourStory on what the state is expecting from the conference and the role that the government would play.

The minister said that Karnataka had already taken a number of initiatives to enhance its stature as one of the leading high-tech industrialised states in the country.

The minister said,

The Make in India-Karnataka conference is the perfect platform for Karnataka to showcase its potential and capabilities in manufacturing. The previous Make in India conference outside Delhi was held in Mumbai last year. We hope to do it better and interest more people.

But interestingly, he said Make in India started as a journey for Karnataka way back in 1953, when Bosch (earlier Mico) started its sprawling manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. Since then, the manufacturing sector, in small, medium and large classifications, has come a long way, and the industry has upgraded itself to the latest technologies, which include nano-tech, robotics, 3D printing, space, drone, rocket, military and aircraft technologies, as well as high-end electronics.

“The manufacturing industry is fast moving towards automation, and different skill sets are required now. The sector plays a key role in the overall health of the economy and economic prosperity, and small and medium enterprises have to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. This is a very good opportunity to understand and adapt to the changing times and be on par with the global standards,” Deshpande said.

This meet will help companies focus on their strengths, and will aid brand Karnataka and India. It will also help in learning to tackle future challenges, he added.

The state wants to focus on defence and aerospace as it is a major player already. A world-class aerospace park with IT and hardware is coming up at Devanahalli, in addition to an aerospace park at Belagavi.

$4 billion FDI in a year

According to DIPP data, Karnataka had attracted $4.1 billion in FDI only in the year 2015-16, the fourth highest among Indian states.

But inflows in the year 2016 were three times higher than that of Gujarat, according to Deshpande.

The Make in India-Karnataka conference will also help brand and market Karnataka as one of the most progressive and industrialised states in the country. The capital city of Bengaluru is a globally renowned knowledge hub and houses the largest number of R&D centres, technical and medical institutions and startups in Asia.

Investor-friendly state

Deshpande spoke of the state’s salubrious climate, cosmopolitan culture and investor-friendly ecosystem, and stressed on the government being a very responsive administration.

The summit, on the eve of the biennial Aero India event starting on February 14 at Yelahanka Air Force Station, will be attended by leading industrialists, CEOs of both domestic companies and MNCs, policy makers from across the globe, members of international business and financial houses, trade and industry associations, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and others who will interact with and aid the small and medium industry in Karnataka.

The conference will create awareness about business and investment opportunities and ease in doing business, showcase India’s inherent strength and visibility, attract major projects and encourage startups to grow in India.

Focus on nine sectors

The two-day conference will have a total of 10 sessions – while one will be on Make in India, nine others will focus on sectors such as aerospace and defence; biotech and pharma; textiles, apparel and leather; heavy engineering and machine tools; electronics and electricals; agri and food processing; auto and their components; manufacturing startups and plastics and chemicals.

At the sessions, sectoral issues, including regulatory hurdles, will be deliberated on, and an action plan to maintain Karnataka’s lead in them will be drawn up.

“Consul Generals, Ambassadors and trade consulates from 25 to 30 countries will sit down for B2B and B2G meetings,” the minister said.

An exhibition area, with participation from 55 world class companies, is being set up and this will help in showcasing state and nationally competitive organisations. Around 4,000 delegates have already registered, Deshpande added.

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