Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Visits U.S.; Three New Projects Announced

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A man holds the flags of India and the U.S. while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade in New York August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Files

MUMBAI – The Maharashtra government and a U.S.-India panel have announced three new projects in the state, an official said June 18.

The state will sign an agreement with the Network for Global Innovation to develop a clean tech incubator ecosystem in Maharashtra to accelerate adoption of sustainable technologies and encourage trade and investment in these sectors.

Along with the U.S.-India State and Urban Initiative, it will collaborate on the development and implementation of a ‘High Performance Innovation Ecosystem’ including planning, funding, build-out and ongoing operations, with plans to invite a state-based nominee organization to become a member of the NGIN.

The Georgia Institute of Technology will launch a new pilot research project to understand the consumer dynamics and responsiveness to adoption of new technologies in the state electricity sector.

The project, “The Impact of Consumer Behavior on Efficiency and Sustainability in India’s Power Sector,” will be led by Georgia Tech Indian American professors — assistant professor Anjali Thomas Bohlken and associate professor Usha Nair-Reichert — with support from the Strategic Energy Initiative.

Finally, the Pune Municipal Corporation will host an Urban Mobility Lab in August as part of the Lighthouse City initiative launched after a competition last year, jointly with NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute, Colorado.

The Urban Mobility Lab will advance the design, integration and implementation of new solutions for complex transportation challenges and how these ideas can be replicated and scaled.

The goal would be to upgrade transportation services to cater to the needs of rapidly growing cities, with operational efficiency, and simultaneous reduction of pollution, congestion and petroleum demands.

The announcements were made during Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ visit to Washington D.C. last week at a public forum co-hosted by the CSIS Wadhwani Chair and India Initiative at Georgetown University, which he addressed.

Funded by the Department of State, the U.S.-India State and Urban Initiative promotes energy security and energy sector reform through direct engagement between Washington and Indian sub-national entities.

It builds productive partnerships that can help India achieve its energy goals; and establish close, sustainable working relationships among Indian sub-national officials with their US counterparts and other civil society organizations working in the areas of governance and energy, besides roping in the private sector.

The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum hosted Fadnavis during his trip to the United States, the forum announced in a June 15 news release. The Forum kicked off the chief minister’s roadshow with U.S. investors at a roundtable in New York City, and hosted him the next day at an event with member companies in Washington, D.C., it said.

The state of Maharashtra, with its progressive measures to facilitate investments and investors, has worked towards the goals it had announced during the “Make in India” initiative in 2014, USISFP said.

To continue to be the preferred business destination for foreign investors, Fadnavis has supported private-public partnerships to promote growth through foreign investments across all sectors. He asked USISPF and Friends of Maharashtra in the U.S. to serve as one nodal point for all U.S. investments into Maharashtra. Both organizations will coordinate and liaise with the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, the USISPF added.

Fadnavis spoke about his goals to make Maharashtra the first trillion-dollar economy across India, which he will do by leveraging foreign investments in various sectors, the news release added.

“We have focused on building infrastructure, which has subsequently opened up lot of opportunities for international investors in the state,” the chief minister said at the forum.

With an emphasis on further development of Mumbai and other townships, Fadnavis has supported private-public partnerships to promote this growth, and insisted that his state’s objective of job growth, along with economic development, will be fulfilled through investments across sectors, according to USISPF.

“Maharashtra is growing at a rapid pace and the state is the first choice for many of our U.S companies that manufacture in India,” USISPF president and CEO Mukesh Aghi said.

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