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Maharashtra looks to Mena for investment and partnerships

The Indian state is pledging to become a $1 trillion economy – and strengthening relationships with the Middle East is at the forefront of these plans

The state of Maharashtra is home to India's largest city and financial capital, Mumbai
The state of Maharashtra is home to India's largest city and financial capital, Mumbai

As the chief minister of Maharashtra, I am proud to say that we have always been at the forefront of India’s economic growth and development.

In recent years we have taken several measures to improve the business relationships and encourage entrepreneurship in the state.

The Middle East has significant importance and I look forward to an open conversation with the top decision makers and business leaders from across the region at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, to discuss how we can help to further build long-term profitable businesses, investment and potential partnerships with businesses. 

By fostering a supportive business environment, investing in infrastructure and key sectors and prioritising the wellbeing of our citizens, I am confident that Maharashtra will remain a thriving and prosperous state for generations to come.

One of our major initiatives has been implementing a single-window system for clearances and approvals. This has greatly simplified the process for investors looking to set up businesses in Maharashtra and as a result I hope that we will see more investment opportunities with the Middle East arise this year. 

We have also made significant investments in infrastructure development, including expanding our road and rail networks to improve connectivity within the state and with other parts of India.

As we navigate a phase of sustained economic recovery it is my ambition to make Maharashtra a $1 trillion economy – the first in India.

To achieve this lofty goal, and continue feeding directly into the wider initiative to drive India to become a $5 trillion economy, we have achieved impressive feats and implemented forward-thinking initiatives.

At the forefront of these plans are attracting investment and partnerships with the Middle East. 

We recently announced the formation of an economic advisory committee comprising of experts and business leaders from a range of industries including education, agriculture and manufacturing. Hand selected and led by Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the 25 committee members are focused on playing a key role in growing our economy.

We have also focused on promoting the growth of key sectors such as manufacturing, information technology and agriculture. Maharashtra is home to many successful companies in these fields and we believe that by supporting their growth we can drive economic development for the benefit of all our citizens. 

Our commitment to the farming community now ensures there is a 15,000 INR ($180) per hectare bonus paid directly to farmers’ bank accounts. This rewards the farming industry for its sustained work and is a safeguarding incentive for a sector that directly contributes 13 percent to Maharashtra’s economy. 

I am proud of the steps we have taken in Maharashtra during this period of post-Covid recovery, contributing 15 percent to the GDP in India and sitting with the largest economy in the country. 

But now, our tact must shift slightly. No longer are foreign investors confident to part ways with their capital. The trade routes the world once relied on aren’t certain. Global powers no longer convey optimism on the world stage. This leaves us with an increasingly complex and chaotic global backdrop. 

India – and specifically Maharashtra – sits in an opportune position to manoeuvre and navigate this outlook, offering investors from the Middle East confidence for the new world we face.

This ability to navigate can be seen in our regional stability, decisive leadership and booming economy, which has laid the foundations for significant growth and development for all future investors. 

I look forward to attending the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month. On this stage, Maharashtra will sit on the global agenda and I hope that conversations with political and business leaders from across the Middle East will further develop and that we will sign agreements with a significant impact on our $1 trillion pledge.

Eknath Shinde is chief minister of Maharashtra, India