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Innovation is essential to reduce production cost

...says Santosh Mandlecha, President of Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (MACCIA) – which play a significant role in accelerating the industrial and economic development in the state. 
How is MACCIA helping in the development of industries in the state?
Established in the year 1927 by Seth Walchand Hirachand, the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MACCIA) is the central organisation of trade, commerce, industry and agriculture particularly focussing on the economic and industrial development of the state of Maharashtra, having deep roots in all districts of Maharashtra state. Presently, the chamber is having 3500 plus members comprising large, medium, small and micro industries along with traders, agriculturists and professionals. In addition, over 500 trade and industry organisations are affiliated to the chamber.
MACCIA is affiliated to FICCI, International Chamber of Commerce, Indian Council of Arbitration and All India Organisation of Employers. The chamber is having full-fledged branch office at Nashik which caters to the needs of entrepreneurs from the North Maharashtra.
The major role of the chamber is to represent the issues of industries, traders, and agriculturists before the state and central governments, and to get their redressal.
MACCIA is the central organisation offering its well thought and fruitfully designed services in the State of Maharashtra. In the pre-independence period, it emerged as a united action in the form of an institution to protect the interests of local business community against the British Policy. 
Post-independence, it has guided the Government of Maharashtra on many economic issues mainly for promoting industrial development and ease of doing business in the internal as well as external trade. The chamber has played an influential role in the economy of the state and has assisted and guided the government from time-to-time in framing policies for its economic progress. It took up the cause of promotion of education to the business community in general and unity amongst themselves to address policy and legal issues affecting trade, commerce and industry. It spearheaded, the cause to abolishing the outdated Octroi tax. Also, a strong opposition was moved to the nationalisation of wheat trade and cotton monopoly purchase system. The chamber also advocated towards rural development through the promotion of industrial estates at taluks and also promotion of entrepreneurship in women.
What are the advantages offered by MACCIA to manufacturing companies?
The chamber offers guidance on legal issue, commercial issues, entrepreneurship, agri-business and skill development. It provides services in foreign trade (like certificate of origin, visa recommendations, attestation of legal documents and so on), and organises business delegation visits within the country and outside India. 
In addition, it offers specific training and certificate courses in foreign trade, entrepreneurship development, taxation and other laws.
The chamber provides weekly economic updates and other business updates to the members through special service of SMS and E-magazine.
Besides, we organise trade shows, agricultural exhibitions, exhibitions of products of women entrepreneurs and specific guidance on marketing.
The Government of Maharashtra aims to make the state a trillion-dollar economy. What role can organisations such as MACCIA play in helping the state government to achieve this goal?
The Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture had participated and fully supported the movement of making Maharashtra. During the last few years, the chamber has organised key conferences on global Maharashtra, and also on port development, food processing and tourism. It has also focussed on building relations with foreign countries and has signed a number of MoUs with Chambers of Commerce and Industries in other countries. The chamber has also supported the movement of clusters development for the promotion of industrial development in rural Maharashtra.
The chamber has focussed to promote investment opportunities in agriculture sector and has organised successfully agri-business exhibitions and conferences at Nashik, Aurangabad, Akola etc.
MACCIA has submitted its views and suggestions for the promotion of business in Maharashtra. Based on chamber’s views, the government has framed the retail policy as well as the new shops and establishment act. It has also made many suggestions to the government in framing the industrial policy vis-a-vis policy for the solar energy in the state.
How important is the role of SMEs in the development of the state's economy?
Looking at the industrial scenario we find that 90% of industries are in MSME Sector and they contribute to the GDP, to the extent of nearly 18% and they employ nearly 45% of the total employment in the state. This is all in private sector and thus the private sector vis-a-vis the MSME play a pivotal role in the development of the state of Maharashtra.
According to the economic survey of the Maharashtra, we have 358,836 MSMEs in the state which has provide employment directly to 27.55 lakh people and the total investment is of Rs 85,362 crores. These figures itself speaks the importance of MSMEs in the development of the state economy.
Being an apex organisation representing industries in Maharashtra, what steps are you planning to take to encourage further industrial development?
To encourage further the industrial development in the state of Maharashtra, MACCIA has focussed on promotion of industrial clusters, food processing and agri-business enterprises and export promotion. The focus is to organise exhibitions in various parts of Maharashtra along with conferences and training programs.
The chamber has signed MOUs with the foreign chambers of commerce and industry and will promote the foreign trade and joint ventures particularly in industrially emerging areas. The chamber is also focussing skill development project and has signed MoUs with universities and institutions of education and management to that effect.
Besides, the chamber is promoting entrepreneurship in women particularly in rural parts and promoting industrial co-operative society of women entrepreneurs. Ease in doing business is yet not fully achieved and, therefore, the chamber has taken an initiative to submit a report on it to the Union and State Governments which will comprise the practical suggestions to achieve the said aim.
How can organisations like MACCIA play a key role in the modernisation and adoption of new technologies (such as automation, robotics, etc) in the industry?
The focus of the chamber is to educate the members in particular in adopting the simple & practical new technology, and train them through skilled development. Innovation is essential mainly to reduce the cost of production vis-a-vis the overall cost of the product. However, a balance has to be achieved so that undue and unnecessary unemployment is not resulted in doing so since a large labour force is waiting in the country to get jobs for themselves. In such a situation encouragement to the MSME enterprises is essential and it will be necessary to make these enterprises competitive in the world market.
With the help of expertise available with the organisations like MACCIA this care can be taken and new technologies in MSME sector can be introduced.
Any message to companies in the Maharashtra...
As the President of Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, and as an active worker for the betterment of MSME sector nearly for last 25 years, based on my experience, I would like to suggest to every entrepreneur and businessman to join any organisation (MACCIA is no exception) which positively acts for the development of their local region vis-a-vis the State of Maharashtra. 
By joining such organisations, they will be contributing in the main stream for the development of their local area, as well as the region in which they function and ultimately the State of Maharashtra, and our beloved Motherland.
I firmly believe that doing business in a transparent manner and contributing for the economic development is a great service to the nation. The organisations like MACCIA provide them a true platform to spread their wings globally and serve the nation. It will add to the solidarity for the upliftment of all of us.


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