Saudi Arabia, Mideast partnership with India’s Maharashtra state can improve lives of millions


Saudi Arabia, Mideast partnership with India’s Maharashtra state can improve lives of millions

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The sustained pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic on Maharashtra was felt by all in our great state, and at the most personal level put a strain and burden on families and individuals simply trying to make everyday decisions. A feeling mirrored across India, the Middle East, and the rest of the world.

I am proud to say that our state has always been at the forefront of India’s economic growth and development. In recent years, we have taken several measures to improve business relationships and encourage entrepreneurship in the state.

The Middle East is a region with 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 week. This is to discuss the solutions we can offer the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to further build long-term profitable businesses, investment, and potential partnerships with enterprises in the Middle East.

As the chief minister of Maharashtra, I am confident that our state will continue to be a leader in India’s economic growth and development. By fostering a supportive business environment, investing in infrastructure and key sectors, and prioritizing the wellbeing of our citizens, we will ensure that Maharashtra remains a thriving and prosperous state for generations to come.

One of our major initiatives has been the implementation of a single window system for clearances and approvals, which has greatly simplified the process for investors looking to set up businesses in Maharashtra. As a result, it is my sincere hope that in 2023, we will see more and more investment opportunities arise with the Middle East. We have also made significant investments in infrastructure development, including the expansion of our road and rail networks, to improve connectivity within the state and with other parts of the country.

It is my stated ambition for Maharashtra to become a $1 trillion economy and I see partnerships with the Middle East as central to this goal. 

Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India

Now, however, as we navigate a phase of sustained economic recovery, and find ourselves in a world that has shifted drastically in the last 24 months, it is my stated ambition for Maharashtra to become a $1 trillion economy and I see partnerships with the Middle East as central to this goal.

To achieve this lofty goal and continue feeding directly into the wider initiative for India — driving our country to become a $5 trillion economy — we have achieved impressive feats and implemented forward-thinking initiatives, all with the aim of attracting investment and partnerships, with the Middle East at the forefront of our plans. We recently formed an economic advisory committee consisting 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-strong committee is focused on playing a key role in growing our economy.

In addition to these efforts, we have also focused on promoting the growth of key sectors such as manufacturing, information technology and agriculture. Our state 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. This announcement came in unison with our commitment to the farming community. This now ensures there is a INR15,000 ($183.51) per hectare bonus paid directly to farmers’ bank accounts, rewarding the farming industry for their sustained work and safeguarding incentives for an industry which directly contributes 13 percent to Maharashtra’s economy.

I am proud of the steps we have taken during this period of recovery, contributing 15 percent to the GDP in India, and sitting as the biggest economy in terms of state versus state. But now as we move into 2023, our tactics must shift slightly. The global change I briefly mentioned, has seen confidence drop. No longer are foreign investors confident to part ways with their capital, the trade routes the world once relied on are not certain and global powers no longer convey optimism on the world stage. Leaving an increasingly complex and chaotic global backdrop. However, India and specifically Maharashtra sits in a position to maneuver 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 the regional stability, decisive leadership and booming economy, which has laid the foundations for significant future growth and development for all future investors. I, therefore, look forward to attending the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month, the annual meeting convening leaders from government, business, and civil society to address the state of the world and discuss priorities for the year ahead. On this stage, Maharashtra will embark on our global agenda by having conversations with political and business leaders from across the Middle East, which we hope will further allow us to develop and sign agreements that will have a significant impact on our $1 trillion pledge.

  • Eknath Shinde is the Chief Minister of Maharashtra state in India.
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