Battery cost and its technology evolution influences the rate of electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Likewise, the presence of a fully localised battery manufacturing factory will help a state grow its EV industry. Recognising the criticality of it, the Maharashtra state government which announced its EV Policy in mid-July, has initiated talks with potential investors. An exclusive interview with Maharashtra's Industries Minister, Subhash Desai.
Did you benchmark any other EV policy introduced elsewhere in the world where it has really worked and given the intended results, or maybe any other EV policy within India, while designing the comprehensive Maharashtra EV Policy?
It's my experience that the government of Maharashtra is always leading, and leading from the front. In any sector that we introduce a policy, we work hard, we do research and with great efforts the policies are released. When new policies are released, it is my experience other states follow.
I had an opportunity to meet the CM of a leading state which was making great efforts in industrial development, so I casually asked him, “How do you attract industries into your state? What are those ideas, and what are those measures that you take to make your state attractive for investors run to your state?” He looked at me for a few moments and then said, “Mr. Desai, shall I tell you the truth?” I said yes, I would like to understand the truth. He said, “Whenever there are new policies announced by the government of Maharashtra, I send my officials to Mumbai to study those policies. They come back and they re-introduce those policies here and try to make our state more attractive.”
These are the words of a leading state’s chief minister. So we are happy. If we are followed, we are happy because together we have to make this country stronger. And I always appreciate healthy competition between the states. But rest assured, this EV Policy will set a benchmark. We’ll be happy to be copied by other states, as the country would be cleaner, greener and stronger.
Announcing a comprehensive, attractive policy is one thing and ensuring that every aspect of it gets executed at the ground level is another. What steps or process have you planned to ensure that everything that you have listed in the EV Policy gets executed?
Keeping this in mind, we have already taken three departments — transport, environment and industry — in this platform. With these three departments across the length and breadth of the state, we are sure we would be able to implement this policy seamlessly.
We have no doubt about implementing the policy and getting stronger results. We have taken care of every aspect of this sector, and therefore
we are not worried.
Has there been any expression of interest for investment in the state since the announcement of the new EV Policy? Any development in talks with Tesla?
All states are very actively engaged in bringing or inviting global giants into their respective states. Maharashtra is equally busy and eager to invite investors, including Tesla. We have been continuously in touch with them and we are trying to understand their concerns and their requirements.
Likewise, there are other brands and other corporations which may take interest in investing in Maharashtra. So, we are very active on these fronts.
On another note, how have things progressed under ‘Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0’? Are they as per plans or have you had to make any tweaks based on experience, feedback?
Let me assure you, nobody can stop Maharashtra — Maharastra is unstoppable. Even during the pandemic-challenging times, we have signed MoUs with investors. Right from April 2020 till now, as many as 60 investors have signed MoUs with the government of Maharashtra. A few of them are from the US, UK, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Germany. Many domestic companies have also made agreements with us. In fact, all these MoUs are converting into real industries. They will not remain on paper alone. And for this purpose we have allotted them land, and 80 percent of these investors have acquired land from us. When an investor takes land, he is serious about his investment and therefore I am categorically mentioning that every MoU is being converted into real-time industry. With this, investments of over Rs 2 lakh crore have been assured in the state. More than 300,000 job opportunities will be created through these efforts.
This interview was first published in August 1, 2021 issue.