Maharashtra wants to be a major EV hub too, renews approach to be investors’ favourite

by Sumantra B Barooah 16 Jul 2020

Subhash Desai, Industries Minister, Maharashtra government: “We are very keen to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing hub. We are negotiating with many investors and companies.”

The automotive industry contributes to over 7 percent of India’s GDP, and nearly half of the country’s manufacturing GDP. Obviously then, any state which wants to be a leading industrial hub cannot quite ignore the automotive sector.

Maharashtra, traditionally a leading industrial hub, and home to Indian and foreign OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, and companies from other sectors, wants to remain an attractive destination in the coming years too. With states like Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat rising up the ranks quite strongly in terms of attracting investments from the auto industry, Maharashtra is upping the ante.

So, moving with the times Maharashtra now wants to be a major hub for electric vehicles (EV) too. “Now, we are very keen to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing hub. We are negotiating with many investors and companies,” Subhash Desai, Industries Minister, Maharashtra government, tells Autocar Professional. It is learnt that industry players from Germany and Hungary are also in talks with the government regarding investments in the state. One of them is Csepel , a Hungarian electric bus maker.

Maharashtra already has an EV policy in place. The minister says he is confident that it will pave the way for EV industry players to drive into the state. Betting on the Maharashtra government’s EV policy’s attractiveness he says, “We have verified this with the investors as well as the Indian domestic manufacturers. They say that there is nothing wrong, it is a perfect policy, and as time progresses people are bound to come here.”   

Even as Maharashtra remains among the top choices of new investors, other states are catching up quite fast. In terms of investments from the auto sector, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as top contenders for new investments from new and existing players like Suzuki Motor Corporation, Kia Motors, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India. Desai, a veteran minister, welcomes the competition, and also exudes confidence that Maharashtra, India’s third largest state area wise, will remain ahead of competition. “We are already on the top. There is no difficulty if other states are competing. In fact, I welcome this healthy competition,” he says.  He bets on Maharashtra’s “complete industrial and business ecosystem” to be able to attract the major chunk of the investments that come to India. He shares that the state currently has over 30 percent share in India’s inbound investments.

However, Desai also says reforms were required in the state’s industrial policies in order to make them more efficient, in addition to enhancing the list of initiatives. The ‘Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0’ initiative, launched last month, is the government’s latest effort to woo more investments. One of its highlights is the ‘Maha Jobs’ industrial employment portal where both job seekers and industrial units can register their respective requirements. Within 24 hours of its launch on 6th July, as many as 85,000 candidates registered their names, and 751 companies have registered their requirements. 50,000 plus jobs were up for grabs. Desai says ‘Maha Jobs’ is a first-of-its-kind initiative not only in Maharashtra, but in India too.

Catch a candid and comprehensive interview with Subhash Desai in Autocar Professional’s annual Maharashtra Industry Special issue (15 July), to find out details on how Maharashtra, with India’s financial capital Mumbai as its capital, is stepping up efforts, renewing approach to be a destination of choice among a growing number of investors.

Download Autocar Professional's Maharashtra Industry Special issue