The 26th Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in India was held on April 26th, 2018 at Hotel Lela Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The theme of the event was ‘Accelerating U.S. – India Economic & Strategic Partnership.’ The meeting was chaired by Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India and President, Boeing India.The 26th Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in India was held on April 26th, 2018 at Hotel Lela Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The theme of the event was ‘Accelerating U.S. – India Economic & Strategic Partnership.’ The meeting was chaired by Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India and President, Boeing India.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, welcomed participants and presented the Annual Report. She highlighted the important events organized by AMCHAM during the year. The Annual Report was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India, briefed participants about U.S. – India relations. He thanked Ms. Ranjana Khanna and the secretariat for organizing a wonderful AGM and for the efforts put in throughout the year. He also thanked all the board members for sharing his responsibility and he thanked Mr. Patrick Santillo and Mr. J. Robert Garverick for their great support.
On behalf of Mr. Atul Dhawan, Honorary Treasurer & Secretary, AMCHAM India, Mr. Jitendra Agarwal, Partner, Deloitte, presented the audited accounts of AMCHAM for the year 2017-18 for adoption. He said that if any member had any query, he would be happy to respond. The accounts were approved unanimously.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna placed the following resolution for appointment of M/s. Walker Chandiok & Co. LLP, Chartered Accountants as the Statutory and Tax Auditors of the American Chamber of Commerce in India for the financial year 2018-19, which was duly approved.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna announced the composition of the National Executive Board of AMCHAM for 2018-19 and requested the members for ratification.
Mr. Karanjit Singh Bajwa, Managing Director and Regional General Manager India & South Asia, IBM India Pvt. Ltd.Mr. Atul Dhawan, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLPMr. Arijit Ghosh, President & Managing Director, Textron India Pvt. Ltd.Mr. Krish Iyer, President and CEO, Wal-Mart India Private LimitedMr. Arun Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Fluor Daniel India Pvt. Ltd.Mr. Sanjay Koul, Chairman & Managing Director, Timken India LimitedMr. Arun M. Kumar, CEO, KPMG in IndiaMs. Rekha M. Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in IndiaMr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India Private Limited
Nominees of Regional Chapters
Chairman RepresentativeBengaluru Mr. Iqbal SaitHead of EMEA Operations
Saggezza India Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Paresh ShahSenior Vice President & General Manager
Syniverse Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.
Chennai Mr. Ramkumar RamamoorthyExecutive Director, India
Cognizant Technology Solutions
Mr. Rajan AiyerManaging Director – GM, SAARC Region
Trimble Information Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.
Delhi Mr. Amit SharmaExecutive Vice President and President Asia
Mr. Palash Roy ChowdhuryManaging Director – Pratt & Whitney
Board of Director-UTCIPL
United Technologies Corporation
Hyderabad Mr. Shashidhar ReddyVice President – Engineering
Qualcomm India Pvt. Ltd.
Dr. Kiranmai Dutt PendyalaCorporate Vice President, HR , COO
AMD R& D Center India Pvt. Ltd.
Kolkata Mr. Debdas SenCEO
TCG Digital Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Gulshan Kumar SachdevManaging Director
Quaker Chemical India Limited
Mumbai Mr. Mahesh KrishnamurtiManaging Director
RGP India Private Limited
Ms. Kaku NakhatePresident & Country Head (India)
Bank of America N.A.
These were all approved.
Immediate Past Chairman
Mr. Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India
Mr. J. Robert Garverick, Minister Counselor for Economic, Environment, Science and Technology Affairs, U.S. EmbassyMr. Patrick Santillo, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. EmbassyThe AGM concluded with the presentation of 10 years’ service recognition awards to Mr. Yeshi Dorjee and Ms. Madhvi Kataria, thanking the supporting partners and acknowledging the excellent work done by the AMCHAM Secretariat.
The inaugural session of AMCHAM’s AGM began with welcome remarks and an introduction of the esteemed speaker by Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India, followed by opening remarks by Mr. Pratyush Kumar Chairman, AMCHAM and President, Boeing India. Mr. Kumar spoke of the U.S. – India relationship, the shared values between both countries, the people to people connect and over $130 billion in trade. He expressed the opportunities in software, energy, agriculture, healthcare, aviation and defense and thanked AMCHAM’s sector committees that do tireless work to advocate for ease of doing business in both countries. He mentioned that AMCHAM exists to grow trade and increase economic activity. Mr. Kumar acknowledged the work that the Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. Embassy does daily to strengthen the U.S. – India partnership.
General (Dr.) V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, began his keynote address by acknowledging the pivotal role AMCHAM has played through creating enhanced business to business relations and enhanced relations between the U.S. and India. He mentioned how important it is to interact with captains of industry, because it is their feedback which ensures that implementation of governmental policies can be tweaked to gain maximum benefit for both the U.S. and India.
He said that as everyone is inquisitive about what the future holds but despite what has been written lot of times, relations between the U.S. and India have followed a stable trajectory, however, as always there are a few ups and downs between any relationship — be it wife and husband or between nations —but that does not mean that the trajectory lost steam. He said that despite changes of government, parties, the complexions of these, the relationship endured and in all things especially business. In both India and the U.S. there has been a great amount of effort on innovation and looking for solutions and cooperation. The Minister implied that maybe it is not so in many other countries and therefore the relations have endured right through.
General Singh mentioned that both Prime Minister Modi and President Trump have worked out things which are good for their own country and things they can share with friends so perhaps where visions were concerned they have laid out things which were beneficial to both countries. He spoke about the great many exchanges between both government’s officials, cabinet ministers, and the various mechanisms which have been put in place to ensure that the relationship goes forward. He said it was heartening to note that since 2014, the visits and mechanisms have all contributed towards strengthening of relations whether they were diplomatic, strategic or business-related. He said this should be noted because even bilateral trade and investments have expanded between both countries.
General Singh described cooperation between both countries through oil and gas purchases by India from U.S., close cooperation on all issues related to travel and tourism, and even defense cooperation has expanded into more areas than ever before. He described that people to people relations have strengthened further and there was a convergence on a lot of issues, whether regarding the Indian Ocean or the Indo-Pacific.
The Minister outlined that India since 2014, has adopted a transformational approach and tried to shed what continued for a very long time, in terms of social reforms, political outreach, or in terms of how to conduct business. A very large section of the population was brought into the banking sector, and ensured that everybody had bank accounts. India tried to digitize things in a manner so the economy started becoming more transparent. Some of the woes were addressed and solved whether it was providing electricity to everybody and enhancing the production of power in India by taking initiative where the solar alliance was formed. General Singh emphasized that there was a transformation and that the hallmark would continue providing opportunities of cross sector collaboration for the U.S. He talked about how both countries need to look at what is going to be beneficial and mutually useful. He talked about how under President Trump, lots of things have been laid out like the “America First” policy but overall India has found opportunities. With India as a huge market which would continue to grow somebody must make use of this market to leverage this market for the economic gain that the U.S. wants. Since there would be many people trying to utilize this market it is appropriate to contemplate how the U.S might gain and the only prescription would be how to jointly exploit this market.
The Minister described how the aviation sector has been opening up, infrastructure opportunities abound and how India plans to re-energize, re-innovate, re-furbish and set up new things so that they can get out of the older expensive technology and move toward better technology. The Minister said that the U.S. is the center of technology, but can they step down and share it without fear. He assured everyone that India has a very strong commitment towards IPR and therefore there should be no fear in sharing technology, enhancing the capability so that on both continents there can be mutual benefits which result in the exploitation of this huge market. India’s maritime sector has been expanding and even the modernization of the largest railway is happening, the defense sector, solar energy, among others. Digitization is another field rich with opportunities in terms of data protection, data mining, and issues can be addressed between both countries in a manner by which both benefit. He reiterated that India was ripe with opportunity.
General Singh concluded by explaining that a chamber has the opportunity to analyze, suggest and to have business to business interactions so that everyone could progress on cross sector collaboration beneficial to both economies and he thanked AMCHAM for the opportunity to speak.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, thanked the Minister and released AMCHAM’s CSR book ‘U.S. Companies Partnering in India Inclusive Growth.’ She took the opportunity to celebrate the people to people connect between the two countries. She mentioned that U.S. business has fully integrated into every aspect of Indian society and they work hard to contribute in a positive way to the communities they work in. American companies have been operating in India since 1902 and have been actively engaged in India’s inclusive growth story, creating gainful employment for more than 5 million people.
On April 2nd, 2018, AMCHAM, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, launched the 2nd CSR photo exhibition at the American Center. That exhibition, along with all the entries we received, were the foundation of the commemorative book which featured 57 photo submissions from AMCHAM companies on their CSR activities. Ms. Ranjana Khanna recognized officials from the Indian government and U.S. Mission and thanked them for their support of AMCHAM.
Fireside Chat with Ambassador Kenneth Juster
The inaugural session was followed by a fireside chat between Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster, U.S. Ambassador to India and Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM and President Boeing India, in camera.
E-Transformation of India
The next session ‘E-Transformation of India’ featured a keynote address by Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication, on E-Transformation of India. Mr. Som Satsangi, VP & GM, Enterprise Group and Managing Director India, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, introduced all the panelists. He introduced and thanked Ms. Aruna Sundarajan for the initiatives taken on digital India. Mr. Satsangi expressed excitement of the ICT companies to take part in this transformation journey of cutting edge technology like big data, cloud, mobility and social.
Ms. Sundararajan was happy to note that the partnership with U.S. has seen a major contribution in India’s digital growth and that American companies operating in India have made enormous transformation changes. The Government of India has been looking forward to inclusion, investments (domestic and international) and providing a more honest environment for international companies. The shift to digital payments and implementation of GST have been aimed at making it easier to do business in India. It was noted that India seems to be set to demonstrate to the world how it can be a test bed for e-transformation with an unprecedented base of digitization led by rapid pace of growth of digital platforms, startups, innovation, digital skills and competency. The Secretary DOT pointed out that India had been 155th in data consumption in the world but in the past one year it has become number one, with a growth of 600-80%. The cost of data in India is 40 cents/GB which is by far the lowest in the world. With the entry of Reliance Jio services, by the mid 2019 the whole country will be covered by 4G internet.
The Indian government has been working on the Bharat Net Rural Internet Project, which currently has provided broadband internet to a hundred thousand panchayats in India, with services to be started soon. By the end of 2018, this project aims at providing internet services to 250,000 of India’s major rural clusters. By April 2019, the government will enable all the key drivers of economic and social development in rural areas including health care institutions and education institutions with broadband services.
Ms. Sundararajan mentioned that one of the biggest platforms for digitization is the Aadhar, as over 200 services are linked with it and twenty million Indians are already using it’s authenticating services. Another big platform that was talked was the United Payment Interface, which allows instant money transfer/banking. With the implementation of GST along with explosive growth of social media platforms, growth of digital wallet and growth e-commerce platforms, digitization is moving deep into the Indian society. Indian has now become the 3rd largest hub for startups with the growth in digitization. Today, 80% of Indians have access to internet services, whereas in 2013, only 43% Indians had access to internet.
Ms. Sundararajan spoke about the new telecom policy, which was likely to be launched on 1st May 2018, which would be reform oriented, investor friendly, will lower the cost of compliances, trigger innovation and promote ‘Make in India.’ The main agenda of the policy was focusing on internet for all, skill development, security of telecom networks, safe and secured use of next-generation technologies such as 5G, IoT and artificial intelligence.
Mr. Som Satsangi, VP & GM, Enterprise Group and Managing Director India, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, introduced Ambassador Sanjay Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary (AD & Cyber Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs and requested him to share his thoughts on the e-transformation of India in the context of cyber security. Ambassador Verma said that India’s focus should be on security of the cyber space, as security of cyber space includes the financial system, legal system, manufacturing and capacity building. He suggested that educational institutions can build capacity in terms of human resources as India needs to secure its cyber space. India needs standards in the global manufacturing sector and can partner with the U.S. to invest in jointly marketing products, R&D and innovation on commercial basis. Partnership through commerce and sharing of new technologies like machine learning, AI and blockchain technology seems to be the most beneficial way to enhance India’s e-transformation.
Mr. Som Satsangi moderated the session with panelists: Mr. Rajesh Janey, Senior Vice President, Dell EMC, Ms. Kaku Nakhate, NEB Member, AMCHAM and President & Country Head (India) Bank of America N.A., Mr. Meetul B. Patel, COO, Microsoft India, Mr. Amit Sharma, Chairman – ICT Committee, AMCHAM & Executive Vice President and President Asia, ATC India.
Ms. Kaku Nakhate said the government has already created a robust ecosystem over the last 3 years. Rural India is getting access to banking which has enabled the GDP to grow. Mobile phones have revolutionized the path to digital payments, an average user uses 7.5 GB data per month which is more than most developed countries. Seventy-nine percent of the Indian population now has a bank account, so the number of transactions have been phenomenal which has managed to curtail leakages. The number of transactions on e-governance projects which were not prevalent before significantly moved from 2.4 billion in 2013 to 30.81 billion in 2017.
Mr. Amit Sharma said that the kind of infrastructure needed to deliver on the aspirations on e-transformation is lacking even in the cities. India has set out very ambitious targets to provide internet with upcoming projects such as smart cities, smart villages, e-health, e-education and e-governance to all its citizens. It has taken more than 20 years for the U.S. to deliver such efforts. He suggested that policies need to more conducive to roll out a digital infrastructure. Current licensing doesn’t allow companies to deliver the full range of services that digital India needs. The role out of digital infrastructure doesn’t lie with a specific part of the government, so there needs to be a commonality and coordination at the federal, state and city level. This difficult task needs an unpreceded level of coordination from industry and tele communication companies.
Mr. Meetul B. Patel, COO, Microsoft India, expressed his views on how the world has shifted to large number of devices which would need humongous cloud computing services. Now a variety of solutions are available, for example, artificial intelligence can help patients needing healthcare or second opinions with an accuracy of 99 percent. Artificial intelligence can help supply chains become more efficient with analytics of machine parts which might fail and go down.
Mr. Rajesh Janey, agreed with the rest of the panelists that the digital infrastructure and platforms are already set. India needs to focus on delivering citizen services and education skilling leading to employment. The key is to building applications using IT infrastructure, to use to platforms and to secure data.
In closing Ambassador Verma said that India is creating a lot of data which is stored in few countries, a better understanding of their systems is needed to converge with our systems so that India can to use the data whenever needed.
Mr. Som Satsangi concluded that the industry needs to work with the state and central governments more closely to bring innovative solutions at an affordable price point.
Make in India 2.0
The ‘Make in India 2.0’ session began with an introduction of the moderator by Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General, CEO of AMCHAM, who mentioned the ‘Make in India 2.0’ photo exhibition in the pre-function area. Mr. Arun M. Kumar, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM and Chairman and CEO, KPMG in India, introduced the panelists and moderated the session. Mr. Kumar complimented the Government of India for the developmental policies, enormous improvements in the investment climate and push to make India a manufacturing hub through the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
In his keynote address, Mr. Suresh P. Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry & Civil Aviation, congratulated AMCHAM for playing a key role in promoting bilateral relationship between U.S. and India. He emphasized that the relationship between both countries was strong, enduring and forward looking with growth in exports for both countries. As the U.S. continued to speak of a trade deficit, Mr. Prabhu mentioned there is not friendship deficit between the two countries. He emphasized that making a relationship work not just bilaterally but multilaterally was important.
Mr. Prabhu emphasized that everyone should work together to create a global trading platform which would benefit all. He said the WTO was an important institution. The Minister mentioned the Aviation Summit in Mumbai next month where a U.S. – India only bilateral summit would take place with the idea that both parties benefit from each other’s expertise and knowledge as well as the huge growing market in India. Last month Indian aviation grew by almost 10%, hence one can imagine the growth potential. In 7 years people would spend more on tourism and the aviation industry would grow. More goods will travel across the country, more export and import would happen with an estimated 40% of GDP which will come from global trade. Mr. Prabhu said that in next 10 years the economy would again double increasing the requirement of aviation in both cargo and passenger aircraft.
The Minister concluded that AMCHAM was playing an important role in promoting the bilateral relationship and the economic understanding of each other would go a long way to strengthen this relationship.
The panel discussion that followed was moderated by Mr. Arun M. Kumar with Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM and President, Boeing India, Mr. Amit Bansal, Managing Director, Corning Technologies India Private Limited, Mr. Palash Roychowdhury, Chairman, Aviation Committee, AMCHAM and MD – Pratt & Whitney, and Mr. Sanjay Koul, Chairman, Manufacturing Committee, AMCHAM and Chairman & Managing Director, Timken India Limited.
Mr. Arun Kumar moderated the session touching upon skill development and integration into the global supply chain. Mr. Amit Bansal talked about the National Skill Development Corporation’s (NSDC) program to skill the youth of India. He mentioned that there is an emphasis in India on getting a degree but skills are often more important. Along with that the government, industry and academia must come together to create an environment to skill the youth of the country in faster and better ways.
Mr. Palash Roychowdhury echoed the emphasis on skill development and creating a structural long-term approach making people ready for gainful employment. He said industry should focus on how to make workers ready for sector specific skill development, look beyond regional demography by developing bilateral relationship with friendly countries for long term skill development and developing entrepreneurship as an ecosystem.
Mr. Sanjay Koul expounded on how India has always been a skill based society with skill in each Indian’s DNA. He said it is necessary to have a systematic program to make sure that the huge mass of young people can be skilled for modern society. He talked about the need to improve the infrastructure so that India can be integrated flawlessly into the global supply chain. Digitization now helps with tracking and port facilitation of incoming goods. Timken is developing and training small companies and suppliers to be a part of the larger supply chain.
The manufacturing plant that Corning set up in Pune had poor roads that led to their factory but the government helped them make a better road to increase the efficiency of the business. Mr. Palash Roychowdhury emphasized that for India to be part of the global supply chain, India needs to ensure global quality and global standards. Companies like UTC impart sector specific skills in the aviation sector so that employment opportunities can be created in this sector.
Mr. Pratyush Kumar talked about how manufacturing today is as much about design and software as it is about hardware. Software is used when designing and testing aircraft parts. India is competitive in the software and design market and Boeing has invested heavily. He also mentioned how the state governments have rolled out the red carpet to support investments.
Panelists agreed that the states all have various time frames for clearances and AMCHAM plays a role when there is a challenge. States vary greatly in the way they operate from wonderful to challenging. The policy framework over the last couple of years has been exceptionally good. When companies talk to decision makers, ministers, senior bureaucrats, diplomats and minister of states, they have been very business friendly, professional, doing the right things and there have been a number of positive changes.
In closing, Mr. Arun Kumar shared that India is overflowing with business opportunity and rich with demand, an exciting place to do business.
Keynote Address by Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship & Petroleum and Natural Gas
Ms. Ranjana Khanna introduced the keynote speaker Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship & Petroleum and Natural Gas and Mr. Pratyush Kumar made welcome remarks.
Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan thanked AMCHAM. He said the U.S. had the perfect synergy between industry, policy makers and academia. He encouraged companies to recreate the friendly business ecosystem with their presence, good practices, principle-based business model and work force.
The Minister was recently in Dabhol in Maharashtra to receive the first Cargo of LNG. There was a gas Enron project in Dabhol which was a gas based power plant with 2000 MW power generation and around 5 million metric ton capacity of regasification facility apart from its technology, apart from its profitability apart from its challenges. He realized the American vision to implement a project, the size, the value, the planning everything is impressive. Recently Texas Governor Greg Abott and U.S. Department of Energy, Secretary Rick Perry, were in India and discussed how to engage with each other. Mr. Pradhan emphasized that energy can be a new bridge to new economic engagement between India and America. American companies have been working in India and Indian companies have been working in the American ecosystem. India’s economy has benefitted, business value has increased for new India and new India is energy.
Last year in October America became an exporter of crude oil and India was the first country to bring American crude oil to sell it to Indian industries. PM Modi has put forth one proposition that India needs reasonable pricing. He quoted that if we get the reasonable pricing, India would like to deal in a long-term basis. With LNG engagement already on, the quantity of India’s requirement will come from American LNG. India is a prime hot spot of energy business. Mr. Pradhan said that today India was the number three energy consumer in the world after U.S. and China but our per capita energy consumption was very low. The government has ambitious plans for the energy industry. He said India needs sustainable energy, more affordable energy and accessible energy.
Approximately 15-17 billion USD was being spent on all projects such as a gas pipeline and regasification capacity and by the end of 2018 India would be a hub for city gas distribution cluster. Six new fertilizer plants would be coming up which will be gas based. The Minister said that eastern India was eager to receive gas through Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga. Through that gas intervention India also plans to produce quality steel. For industrial investment its necessary to have quality raw material, quality manpower and a captive market.
Few days back Deloitte gave a presentation to Mr. Pradhan and he asked Deloitte to give an idea on ‘Industrial Revolution 4.0.’ To enhance oil production the two-way strategies include introducing new technology and the mega computing system with more accurate data. The Minster mentioned that companies like IBM can provide services on that. They might be providing such services somewhere else in the world. India could extract more oil from the existing oil fields. He said this was the kind of business partnership India expects from American companies.
In closing, the Minister talked about how today in era of internet, things were changing in a big way and every fortnight there were new things to learn and new things to implement in policy making and in the economy. He emphasized the need to create a big partnership between these two big economies. AMCHAM has the primary role to create such a network, to create a bridge. The Minster said his office was committed to that. He said that India’s 5 million youth were already skilled. He said that re-skilling, off skilling and skilling were not CSR activities but investment for more productivity and investment for more security. He thanked AMCHAM for inviting him to speak.
Mr. Atul Dhawan, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, AMCHAM and Partner, Deloitte, in his closing remarks, emphasized that energy and skills were key areas. Responsible pricing for energy and need for technological upgradation was emphasized. He said skilling is not just about giving jobs and reiterated the Minister’s point about collaboration of industries, government and academia, which is so critical to plan for tomorrow and not being static in terms of what can be achieved today. He said it is important to learn not only from U.S. but also from the world to make sure to create that environment. Mr. Dhawan said that U.S. companies would continue to look for opportunities to enhance mutual interest which would include better business opportunities and skill development.
Keynote Address by Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
The Hon’ble Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, delivered the keynote address. Ms. Ranjana Khanna introduced the Minister. Welcome remarks were given by Mr. Pratyush Kumar.
Through his very insightful and informative address, Mr. Gadkari shed light on the government’s priorities and projects with a special reference to creating ease of doing business in India. He stated that since India was the fastest growing economy in the world, it was the government’s priority to focus on infrastructure and development.
The Minster explained, on the road transport front there has been good progress with the road length of the national highway increase from 96,000 kms to 1,76,000 kms. Road construction has increased from 2km/day to 28 kms/day. It was brought to fore that India’s first smart and green express highways ‘Eastern Peripheral Expressway’ will be shortly inaugurated by the Hon’ble PM. The Minister spoke of the Delhi to Meerut Express Highway and the Delhi to Mumbai Express Highway, with both projects being underway. He said that the express highways initiative will be instrumental in connecting backward areas of various states generating employment and creating development opportunities. The highways will also impact key aspects of logistics and fuel costs resulting in reducing the same and increasing profitability. Logistics parks and roadside amenities were also being built which stand as a golden opportunity for investors as well as industry as a whole.
He mentioned that another high priority of the government was electric public transport for which tenders have been floated. Eleven factories were already operational towards this initiative. On another note railway construction of 20,000 crore is being developed along with opportunities for making cable car ropeways to connect places for which technology partners are being invited with a max of 49% equity. With regard to road construction, 9 projects have been monetized with another 105 are ready for monetization through various models. Of the 189 projects towards Ganga Rejuvenation about 10 projects have been rolled out as part of the hybrid annuity based PPP model to have a faster implementation and outcome. Mr. Gadkari shed light on the efforts towards solving the problem of water pollution not only in the Ganga but also for the Yamuna and all tributaries of the Ganga.
At present India has 12 major ports and 4 satellite ports with another 6 new ports planned. There are also 4 multimodal hubs. A decision to convert 111 rivers into waterways has also been taken by the government. The waterways and seafront will enable ship line services creating huge potential for tourism in the country. Work on cruise terminals across the country is being constructed in line with that.
The Minister mentioned there was also a huge potential of collaboration in the projects of solid and liquid waste management with opportunities for technology partnership. Hydropower and solar wind power projects were also another focus with the intent to give electricity at Rs. 3 per unit and in turn to decrease the capital cost. A policy for Ethanol has been under discussion. Mr. Gadkari concluded his address by requesting American companies to invest in India in view of the opportunities, transparency and ease of operation with a special reference to the ease created by e-governance and automatic approval in various areas.
Ms. Kaku Nakhate gave the vote of thanks. She expressed her admiration towards Mr. Gadkari’s passion for his projects and flair for sharing numbers. She also expressed that it was indeed encouraging and impressive to learn of the government’s progress as well as proactive approach and growth story!
In closing Ms. Ranjana Khanna gave the vote of thanks to all the supporting partners, participants, panelists and the AMCHAM secretariat for their support.