Published On : Sun, Apr 12th, 2015

Devendra Fadnavis sets priorities for Hannover Trade Fair

CM DevendraNagpur.

As Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is set to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Hannover on Monday, he has several priorities in focus, including setting up a manufacture facility for German auto giant Volkswagen and attracting Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab to invest in the state.

Besides, Fadnavis will also meet top officials of bus manufacturing company VOLVO and Swedish engineering group Sandvik for expanding their base in Maharashtra.

The Hannover Trade Fair in Germany, to be held between April 13 and 17, will be jointly opened by Modi along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. India is partner country at Hannover Mess 2015, the world’s largest industrial trade fair.

“Till now, companies like Volkswagen used to be in a semi-knocked down state where they import every part of the car and assemble it in the country to save customs duty. This does not create value addition, nor does it bring in investments for us. Thus, we have asked Volkswagen to manufacture cars here. Maharashtra will be the place in India where Volkswagen will manufacture its car engines,” Praveen Pardeshi, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister said.

Pardeshi said another important aspect of Fadnavis’s trip will be to pursue Volkswagen to set up a network of suppliers of automobile parts in India.

“We want all the sub-parts and ancillaries of the car to be made in Indian units,” he said.

Explaining the current working of Volkswagen, Pardeshi said the company is currently assembling around 1,30,000 vehicles a year and gives employment to about 3,500 people.

“They are now planning to expand by around Rs 38 billion, making it the largest German investment in the country. While this will also generate direct employment, companies making ancillary units which supply them parts, will thus enable further employment,” he said.

According to him, this trip is aimed at mobilising additional Rs 1,500 crore in the next 3-5 years.

He said aerospace and defence company Saab is being pursued to collaborate with Indian industries like Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Godrej Aerospace, TATAs, so that they can invest in Nagpur, Mumbai and Nashik.

“Saab is a big manufacturer of aero defence. They have collaborations in India. They produce aeronautics, dynamic electronic defence systems and security systems,” Pardeshi said.

“They have not yet invested in India. We are asking them to combine with Indian industries like L&T, Godrej Aerospace, TATAs, so that they can invest in Nagpur, Mumbai and Nashik. These are the places we have suggested to them but no decision has been made as yet,” he added. Pardeshi claimed that Saab is likely to be the first major defence foreign collaboration after the opening of defence and aerospace sector in India.

“Along with Saab, we will manufacture advanced defence components in Maharashtra. We can then export aeronautics from here. Till now we have only been importing and not manufacturing. This will lead to import substitution,” he said.

Fadnavis will also be meeting top executives of Engineering company Bosch and visit retail giant IKEA. “While IKEA sells products here, it does not source products from India. Our aim is that the company should not just open retail stores here, but source furniture and other products in India and thereby generate employment,” Pardeshi said, adding the Continental group is also looking forward to further investment in the state.

“We are also meeting VOLVO officials. The company is already based in Chennai and we now too are pursuing them. So there is a chance they will further expand their manufacturing in Maharashtra,” he said. After the CM’s visit, the government may also see Swedish engineering group Sandvik expand its base in Maharashtra, he added.