AMCHAM’s Karnataka Chapter Signature Event themed ‘Global Tech City: Bengaluru’ was held on August 18th at the Oberoi, MG Road, Bengaluru. Welcoming the dignitaries and delegates to the event, Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director Geneal CEO, AMCHAM highlighted the significance of Karnataka as a front runner state for investments, 2nd in ranking, as a result of the investor friendly policies. With total investments till FY 2022-23 reaching an impressive figure of INR 4.67 trillion and ranked first in NITI Aayog’s Innovation Index and DPIIT’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, Karnataka, she said, was home to more than 400 MNCs with global R&D centers present in the state. Ms. Khanna emphasized how U.S. industry could contribute meaningfully to faster growth and development of the state and possible areas of collaboration. Mr. Som Satsangi, Chairman, AMCHAM and SVP and MD, India, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in his opening remarks, noted that having the event in Bengaluru was testimony for the importance of Bengaluru, the powerhouse of tech innovation. The deliberations would center around how U.S. industry could collaborate with the state government to bring in global technology to support government policies like the start-up policy and making the city a next generation technology innovation hub. With many major global industries in India have operations in Bengaluru, some have a larger presence than their headquarters in the U.S., with their core innovation activity base in the city. There is excitement around how Bengaluru could become the next center for generative AI and machine learning, that would contribute to ease of living across India.
Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Ramalinga Reddy, Minister of Transport, Government of Karnataka said that the State Transport Corporations, KSRTC and BMRTC have been performing exceedingly well and have been providing employment to over 1,20,000 people. Highlighting the huge potential that India and the U.S. have to work together in the transportation sector, he said that Karnataka is keen to encourage investments in electric mobility for a pollution free environment and also enhance public transportation avenues, multi-modal transportation as well as first and last mile connectivity for improving the city development index and ease of living. Appreciating AMCHAM for organizing a timely event, the Minister invited inputs from major U.S. conglomerates on how the state government could collaborate to create a most modern, technologically advanced city, that can be benchmarked globally. Bengaluru, one of the fastest growing cities in India, he said, is privileged to join the league of 40 global cities including New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo among others at the World Cities Culture Forum and was now, not only known as the tech city contributing to the economy of India and Karnataka, but also as a global city in a fresh narrative of cultural ethos. The Government of Karnataka has announced major initiatives for enhancing urban cities like Bengaluru with improved public transportation and last mile connectivity, including free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti). In a bid to reduce traffic congestion, Namma Metro and Bengaluru suburban railway project were being implemented and approximately ₹12,000 crore were proposed to be spent through various schemes, among others, for high-density corridor, road white-topping, solid waste management, encroachment removal and repairs of canals and filling of potholes. Mr. Reddy also invited AMCHAM to share the major recommendations from the event for further engaging with U.S. companies for holistic transport planning across the state.
Mr. Prabhjeet Singh, President, Uber India and South Asia, presented an overview of the AMCHAM-Uber knowledge paper Enhancing Last Mile Connectivity: The Silicon Valley of India. Highlighting Bengaluru as the city of innovation, and Karnataka as a state of wider culture, Mr. Singh said that the knowledge paper brings out the strategies required to transform the mobility ecosystem in a unique city like Bengaluru and provide sustainable livelihoods across millions of people. Appreciating the government for introducing the Shakti Scheme, free travel for women in transport busses, Mr. Singh said that this has empowered women for safe and affordable means of transport and thus unlocked great economic opportunity. The AMCHAM-Uber knowledge paper focused upon the future of mobility in Karnataka and was based upon shared mobility, multi-modal and inclusive transportation. For multi-modal transportation, technology should be used to integrate the multiple options as a single transportation experience, which can provide faster and more economical options to commuters. Another major finding was that large capacity vehicles like busses, need to be deployed on roads so that they remove traffic congestion, with public private partnership using technological interventions.
In his inaugural address, Sri D.K. Shivakumar highlighted the significance of Bengaluru as an ideal investment destination, being the fastest growing capital city in the country, knowledge and innovation hub and with availability of abundant educated and skilled manpower. Bengaluru’s significance on the global investment map could be reflected by frequent visits from heads of state from various countries. Bengaluru proudly has a new international airport, which was recently inaugurated by the hon’ble Prime Minister of India. Karnataka competes with the world in the areas of innovation, start-ups, health and human capital. As the world looks at Karnataka as a global investment destination, the Government of Karnataka is committed to achieve global benchmarks. Amongst its various achievements, Karnataka stands first in the world to set up a 2,050 MW Solar Park at Pavagada, which was amongst the five biggest photovoltaic solar power parks in the world. Sri Shivakumar said that his government was committed to position Bengaluru more prominently on the international map as a global destination and a city to be proud of for the whole of India.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Salil Gupte, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM and President, Boeing India, highlighted how the transformation from public sector innovation to private sector innovation in the state has helped its remarkable growth to the current standards. Appreciating the state government for sustainable public transportation policies, Mr. Gupte touched upon elevating Bengaluru to a globally benchmarked city and shared a vision of a smart city with innovative urban air mobility opportunities for faster and easier movement of people. Dr. Arathi Krishna, AICC Secretary, In Charge, Indian Overseas Congress and Former Deputy Chairman, NRI Forum, Government of Karnataka was present during the inaugural session. The session concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Mr. Atul Ujagar, National Executive Board Member, AMCHAM and Partner Management Director – India, Sri Lanka & Pakistan, Nike Sourcing India Pvt. Ltd. who appreciated the state government for various positive developments and urged the government to plan innovative strategies for enhancing the transportation infrastructure in Bengaluru.
Technical Session: Global Tech City Bengaluru
In his opening remarks, Mr. Salil Gupte, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM and President, Boeing India shared the vision for the future of smart urban air mobility to make commuting easier with reduced travel time. He later moderated the industry panel discussion as well. In his address, Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, Energy, Government of Karnataka explained that the new air mobility vehicles like eVTOL air taxis, being assembled in Bengaluru, would start plying by 2025-26 once the civil aviation regulations were in place. He appreciated the contribution of U.S. companies and continued relationship with AMCHAM for the economic development of Karnataka. For the energy sector, Karnataka has been planning to enhance the capacity of the Solar Park at Pavagada, has more than 60% installed capacity in renewables, was dependent upon wind and solar power for a large part of power supply and were 50% green in energy. Karnataka has been working on various projects including the green energy corridor. The 16 GW capacity in the state was set to increase to 40 GW in the next 7-8 years, which offers lots of private sector investment opportunities. The state government has been working with U.S. companies on green hydrogen and ammonia, with a target to achieve global energy standards. Karnataka has been engaged in wind repowering and decentralized generating systems for solar power. On the Infrastructure front, the Karnataka government was planning to increase the frequency of international flights to Bengaluru’s international airport and connectivity to new international destinations, such as, New York. Bengaluru has now been connected to Tokyo, Sydney and San Fransisco with direct flights. The new terminal for international flights would be operational in next 30 days, he said. The state has also been in the process of implementing EV charging infrastructure, last mile connectivity and suburban rail with the Indian railways.
Dr. N.V. Prasad, Secretary Transport, Government of Karnataka, in his address, shed light on the various initiatives of the Karnataka government with respect to public transportation required for building green and resilient cities and aimed at making Bengaluru achieve global transportation standards. With the private vehicles segment growing at an alarming rate, as per a pre-covid survey by the state, it was anticipated that by 2025 the number of vehicles would be equal to the number of people in the city. The government faces a challenge regarding shifting the mobility preference of citizens from a private to public mode and efforts were ongoing to enhance public transportation facilities through the metro, buses and transition to green vehicles with addition of electric vehicles to the state fleet. Charging infrastructure using solar energy and wind power were on the anvil. With the launch of the Shakti scheme, women have access to safe mobility, thus enhancing their economic status. Karnataka was the first in the country to start an EV policy and has been encouraging public transport in a major way. Plans were under consideration for introducing electric vehicles in rural areas as well.
Ms. Mehnaz Ansari, Sr. Regional Representative Indo-Pacific Region, U.S. Trade and Development Agency spoke about the strong ties between the United States of America and the state of Karnataka. Highlighting the excellent weather of Bengaluru, a major attraction of the city, she cautioned regarding the negative impacts of climate change and emphasized the need for sustaining the environment. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has had a long-standing relationship with Bengaluru and Karnataka, specifically on the smart water campaign and with BESCOM for laying down the smart grid road map. With over 650 U.S. companies based out of the state, USTDA has a big role to play in the ensuing phased plans of the government for the development of Bengaluru and Karnataka as a whole. USTDA has identified Karnataka as one of its partner states for its global procurement initiative training program, especially on the climate and renewables goals to be achieved. On the mobility front, Ms. Ansari emphasized the need to address last mile connectivity effectively, which would greatly support major U.S. companies operating in the state. Ms. Ansari urged the state transport department to formulate strategies for mitigating the pollution arising out of inter-state vehicles coming to Karnataka and assured full support to fund activities around master planning and integrated infrastructure development. USTDA has also been working extensively on the energy and aviation sector programs and shall continue to work as a catalyst with U.S. industry to bring in infrastructure planning and related ecosystem development efforts in a proactive manner.
The ensuing industry panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Salil Gupte and featured speakers Mr. Chandrakant Nayak, Chairman – Western Region, AMCHAM and CEO, and Country President, Dow India, Mr. Pawan Kumar Singh, Executive Director – Transportation and Electronics Business Group, 3M India Limited, Mr. Manu Kumar V., Enterprise Architect (Sustainability & Smart City), Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Mr. Prabhjeet Singh, President, Uber India and South Asia. The discussion focussed on green transformation of Bengaluru, enhancing transport safety, overall smart cities development, vision for green energy, mobility, multi-modal and last mile connectivity strategies for the state and Bengaluru specifically.
Vision Karnataka: The Global Hi-Tech Capital
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, in her welcome remarks, spoke about the role U.S. companies have played in shaping Karnataka’s economic landscape. Mr. Som Satsangi, Chairman, AMCHAM and SVP and MD, India, Hewlett Packard Enterprise spoke about taking the state of Karnataka to the next level nationally and globally. He shared the immense contribution the state has made in terms of GDP, employability, etc. Dr. M.B. Patil, Minister for Large & Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka gave the special address in which he spoke about the vibrant partnership between India and the U.S. He enumerated the advantages Karnataka possess and how the state has always been a beacon of growth and innovation while preserving its cultural identity. During this transformational phase, with public private partnerships, maximum potential could be harnessed for a range of sectors from technology to manufacturing. He assured industry that the Government of Karnataka was steadfast to create an amicable environment for industries while committed to sustainability. Dr. Patil shared that over the past two months under the new government, they have attracted investments exceeding 40,000 crore rupees, with a solid belief in achieving over 60,000 crore rupees in investments. The state’s industry-friendly policies offer unmatched advantages, fostering holistic growth in all sectors. Some of the latest initiatives include reconstituting the Invest Karnataka Forum (IKF), setting up a strategic investment committee for guidance to attract investments, constituting new vison groups across nine sectors to provide holistic guidance and to promote ease of doing business, creating an integrated single window system for digitizing the end to end investor journey from investment application to incentive dispersal on a single platform. He spoke about the collective approach through dialogue, continuous engagement and shared learnings. He also touched upon the government’s initiative of Beyond Bengaluru which aims to move manufacturing industries to other cities in Karnataka. The government plans to set up new industrial parks and incentivize companies. This move shall help in decongesting Bengaluru. AMCHAM members interacted with Dr. Patil on various issues including land clearances, creation of a joint forum, need for continuous dialogue, focus on manufacturing in Karnataka and how industry could join strategic groups. Mr. Atul Ujagar, National Executive Board Member, AMCHAM and Partner Management Director – India, Sri Lanka & Pakistan, Nike Sourcing India Pvt. Ltd., in his closing remarks, thanked the Minister and lauded the initiatives being undertaken by the new government. He also reiterated Dr. Patil’s point of huge potential for manufacturing industries in the state.
Transforming Global Business: GCCs in India
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM in her welcome remarks spoke about the role of GCCs in the Indian economy. Bengaluru also known as the ‘tech city of India,’ has been a favoured destination for GCCs of U.S. companies, contributing significantly to GDP and technological prowess. With the present geopolitical sentiments, she highlighted the opportunities for more GCCs to be established in India. The inaugural address was given by Mr. Prakash Bodla, National Executive Board Member and Chairman – GCC Committee, AMCHAM and Managing Director, Carrier Technologies India Ltd. He pointed out the impact of GCCs in creating direct and massive indirect employment. The success of GCCs in India can be attributed to the adaptability to newer technology, availability of the necessary skills set and presence of an English speaking population. He shared the journey of AMCHAM’s GCC Committee and thanked the central and state governments for their support.
Mr. Priyank M. Kharge, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT & BT), Government of Karnataka, in his keynote address, while highlighting the immense significance of the theme, spoke about how it encapsulates the spirit of innovation, resilience, and collaboration. He spoke about the position of Bengaluru, not only in India, but in the global business ecosystem. The city has earned its global space because of the tech brilliance it possesses and has always been a breeding ground for innovation. The city has a vibrant ecosystem of innovation, supportive infrastructure, and brilliant minds with a diverse talent pool which thrives on collaborations and partnerships. Bengaluru is the 4th largest tech cluster in world and ranked as the 8th largest startup ecosystem globally. It has more than 25% of the tech talent in the country with India’s R&D powered by over 42% of workforce from Bengaluru. The city has evolved from an IT service industry to an R&D hub to a destination of innovation, invention, and investments. The city’s influence in transforming global business is undeniable and promises of transformation for business around the world by offering transformative solutions across sectors. Businesses leverage its capabilities to enhance efficiencies, drive growth and deliver solutions to its stakeholders. The Minister congratulated AMCHAM for its work in paving the way for meaningful partnerships and promoting trade and commerce. He assured that the Government of Karnataka was committed to make India a global leader not only in innovation but in inventions. While assuring complete support to industry, he asked for a roadmap for GCCs and agreed to set up an advisory council for GCCs. Mr. Kharge also invited AMCHAM to organize the next edition of the annual summit in Bengaluru. The audience interacted on various topics including consumption of technology by governments through a collaborative approach, regular and faster skill upgradation, R&D, innovation, start-ups, centers of excellence, public procurement policy for start-ups, regular communication of important notifications, etc. The special address was given by Dr. S. Selvakumar, Principal Secretary, Commerce, and Industry Department, Government of Karnataka who spoke about GCCs facilitating cross border partnerships and fostering knowledge sharing while optimizing operational effectiveness. He highlighted the important role a GCC plays in formulating global strategies and local implementation. The state of Karnataka is home to over 400 R&D centers of global companies. For the past three years, Karnataka has secured the first spot in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index. Bengaluru is the fastest growing technological and innovation cluster worldwide and a breeding ground for innovation and cutting-edge technology. The state has a dedicated R&D policy with focus on five sectors – aerospace and defence, automobiles and EVs, biotech, semi-conductors, and software products. Dr. Selvakumar shared some success stories of U.S. companies in Karnataka.
A panel discussion on ‘GCCs: Driving Innovation and Growth’ featured speakers Mr. Chandrakant Nayak, Chairman – Western Region, AMCHAM and CEO, and Country President, Dow India, Ms. Aparna Rao, Cargill Business Services India Lead and Mr. Arindam Banerrji, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, Wells Fargo, India & Philippines with moderation by Ms. Reenu Rai, MCR, Head Occupier Advisory – India, CBRE. The panel discussed the growth journey for their India centers, how the captive units in India were driving innovation, global impact and challenges faced.
The second panel discussion on ‘The Rise of Big Data in GCCs in Building a Secure and Resilient Financial System’ featured speakers Ms. Gunjan Krishna, Commissioner for Industrial Development & Director of Industries & Commerce, Government of Karnataka, Mr. Paramasivam M., Country Head, Global Subsidiaries Group, Citi India, Mr. Neeraj Verma, Associate Partner, Cluster Leader – Financial Services, GCC Business Unit, IBM, Mr. Vishnu Balusu, Managing Director, Global Technology, Head of Infrastructure Platforms – India & Philippines GCC; Global Product Line General Manager – Application Integration & Streaming Products, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Mr. Sanjay Vyas, Executive Vice President, India Country Head & Managing Director, Global SBU Head – Safety Services & Logistics, Parexel International. The session was moderated by Mr. Ravi Vasantraj, Global Delivery Head, Mphasis. Ms. Krishna mentioned Karnataka being home to 35% of global GCCs. With the support of the government, GCCs were evolving and now becoming main drivers of innovation. The panel deliberated on the industry landscape, strategic intent of captive units, relevance of data for the unit, innovations, changing landscape in the GCCs, arbitrage vs. value creation, partner eco-systems, scaling up, business need, pre-conditions, approaches to big data, business expectations from big data, measurable outcomes, data silos, data availability and approaches, managing organizational change for data availability, timeliness and relevance, new opportunities, leveraging disruptive tools like AI, latest on AI embedded data tools, risk management in the AI world, governance, cyber security and AI.
Mr. Santosh Kulkarni, Co-Chairman – GCC Committee, AMCHAM, and Managing Partner & Global Leader – Global Transformation Centers Business Unit, IBM summarized the proceedings and gave the closing remarks. The event was supported by the following partners: Uber, HPE, Mphasis and Timken.