Italian business delegation eyes increased Make-in-India opportunities

by Mayank Dhingra 28 Apr 2017

Ivan Scalfarotto, Italy's Deputy Minister for Economic Development, speaking at the Italia India meet in New Delhi on April 27.

A high-powered Italian delegation, led by deputy minister for economic development, Ivan Scalfarotto, which is on a three-day (April 26-28) business mission to India, is aiming to strengthen bilateral ties and make the most of the plentiful business opportunities that India has on offer.

The platform, which is being promoted by the Italian Ministries of Economic Development and Foreign Affairs, along with FICCI and CII, is witnessing participation by various state representatives, along with 140 big enterprises and SMEs, across varied sectors, from both India and Italy.

With both countries sharing common core cultural values, and with the trade environment in India seeing positive changes in the past two years, the focus now is on enhancing participation of foreign players in setting up their business entities in India.

As a result, 80 companies, out of the total industry representation in the forum, including areas like automotive, healthcare, defence, aviation and railways, are from Italy and are exploring growth opportunities in India.

Italy, which is Europe’s second largest manufacturing hub, after Germany, sees the industry being pegged at 100 billion euros, with the automotive sector taking the top spot, contributing 5 percent to its GDP, by the virtue of more than 3,000 companies employing close to 1.2 million people. The area sees the largest investments in manufacturing technologies and R&D, with the existing SMEs exporting 50 percent of their volumes to markets abroad.

Speaking in New Delhi yesterday, Ivan Scalfarotto said, “India being the fifth largest automotive market in the world and with government’s Make In India initiative, which has been working towards bringing in a lot of reforms in the Indian business environment, the country has already seen more than 60 Italian automotive companies operating with around 80 manufacturing facilities, most of them located in the Maharashtra belt, and yet keeping an eye on the immense future potential.”

The government’s programme, which has clearly emphasised on ease of doing business in India, with close to 7,000 policy changes since 2014, has seen India scale up in its International Monetary Fund ranking. IMF has also forecast India’s growth rate forecast to be 7.2 percent for 2017. The passenger vehicle industry in the country is also projected to grow between 7-9 percent in FY2017-18.

Italy is also bullish about the upcoming GST, which is to roll out from July 1, and the various infrastructural development projects like Delhi-Mumbai and Bengaluru-Chennai corridors, which will enable companies to harness the vast manufacturing potential present across India.

Embracing newer technology and relaxing the FDI policy in order to make companies invest and bring in modern technology into the country, improvement in trademark registrations, IPR policies, and patent registrations are also some of the other areas of prime importance in the Make in India scheme, all directed towards a highly technology driven Industry 4.0 future in the country.

While large companies like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Piaggio and Magneti Marelli, which are extremely positive about the undergoing dynamic shift in India, the future of mobility, which would also comprise EVs, hybrids, Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs), is also an area where many Italian companies are currently working on developing technologies and would want to work closely in the Indian context, to help utilise technology and bring about a sustainable and clean future.

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