Spot­light on deeper, di­verse part­ner­ship pos­si­bil­i­ties FICCI's Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans mounts visit to Ger­many

Spot­light on deeper, di­verse part­ner­ship pos­si­bil­i­ties

FICCI Business Digest - - In Focus -

With the grow­ing sig­nif­i­cance of In­doGer­many bi­lat­eral re­la­tions fol­low­ing the visit of Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia to Han­nover Messe Fair in April 2015, a del­e­ga­tion of In­dian Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and cor­po­rate heads from In­dia vis­ited Ger­many on a study tour from Septem­ber 1-4, 2015. The high pow­ered del­e­ga­tion was jointly or­gan­ised by the Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian Cham­bers of Com­merce and Industry (FICCI) and the Kon­rad-Ade­nauer-Stiftung (KAS).

Anurag Singh Thakur, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and Chair, FICCI's In­dia-Ger­many Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and Dr. Jy­ot­sna Suri, Pres­i­dent, FICCI, led the del­e­ga­tion. FICCI Pre­sid­ium was well-rep­re­sented by Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Har­shavard­han Neo­tia and Im­me­di­ate Past Pres­i­dent Sid­harth Birla. Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, rep­re­sented across party lines in­cluded Ra­jeev Shukla (INC), Ra­jeev Satav (INC), Supriya Sule (NCP) and Ke­shav Prasad Mau­rya (BJP).

The del­e­ga­tion's itin­er­ary in­cluded meet­ings with min­is­ters and MPs at the fed­eral and state (Län­der) level. Site vis­its to cen­tres of vocational train­ing, green en­ergy, river clean­ing, in­fras­truc­ture mod­erni­sa­tion and smart ci­ties proved highly rel­e­vant in gain­ing a first-hand un­der­stand­ing of ar­eas where Indo-Ger­man part­ner­ship could yield or­ganic syn­ergy. In­ter­ac­tions with the In­dian Am­bas­sador and Con­sul Gen­eral were or­gan­ised for an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of the In­dian per­spec­tive.

The tour cov­ered three ma­jor des­ti­na­tions - BadenWurt­tem­berg, Dres­den (Sax­ony in East Ger­many) and Ber­lin. In­dian Am­bas­sador to Ger­many, Vi­jay Gokhale hosted the del­e­ga­tion in Ber­lin for a lun­cheon meet­ing and out­lined his vi­sion of fu­ture fo­cus ar­eas. He out­lined the for­eign pol­icy pri­or­i­ties of Ger­many for the del­e­ga­tion. For In­dia, Ger­many's core com­pe­ten­cies and po­si­tion of lead­er­ship in in­no­va­tion and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy are very im­por­tant. Ger­man prow­ess is also of spe­cial rel­e­vance to In­dia's new ini­tia­tives – Make in In­dia, Dig­i­tal In­dia, Clean In­dia, Namami Gange and clean­ing rivers and skills ini­tia­tive. Amb. Gokhale called for build­ing syn­er­gies to align the in­ter­ests of the two na­tions.

In­dia and Ger­many share strong co­op­er­a­tion en­com­pass­ing mul­ti­ple sec­tors. Trade and in­vest­ment are at the cen­tre-stage of this part­ner­ship.

Ger­many is the eighth largest for­eign di­rect in­vestor in In­dia. In this con­text, the Make in In­dia pro­gramme of the In­dian gov­ern­ment, de­signed with a vi­sion to de­velop In­dia as a global manufacturing hub, of­fers im­mense po­ten­tial for In­dian industry to at­tract greater FDI from Ger­many. There is al­ready an ex­ten­sive pres­ence of Ger­man com­pa­nies in In­dia with over 1000 es­tab­lish­ments. The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia has been tak­ing sub­stan­tial ef­forts to es­ca­late “ease of do­ing busi­ness” in In­dia.

As part of their eco­nomic in­ter­ac­tions, the del­e­ga­tion met board mem­bers of key Ger­man com­pa­nies and industry cham­ber rep­re­sen­ta­tives. They vis­ited the fac­tory of Scheuerle to dis­cuss the dy­nam­ics of fam­ily-owned medium sized busi­nesses in Ger­many. Scheurle, world's lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of mul­ti­mod­ule and self-heavy load trans­port sys­tems have con­sid­er­able mar­ket share in the heavy ve­hi­cles sec­tor. Over the last few years, al­most 80 per cent of the trans­porta­tion tasks in In­dia have been re­alised on trans­port equip­ment of Scheuerle or the TII Group. The group is sched­uled to in­au­gu­rate its first manufacturing unit in Haryana this year.

Ger­man States (Län­der) are eco­nomic pow­er­houses in their own right and a few states ac­count for nearly 60 per cent of the con­tri­bu­tion to GDP. It is im­per­a­tive for In­dian gov­ern­ment and industry to build di­rect

re­la­tions with th­ese states in­clud­ing the lead­ing com­pa­nies.

As part of po­lit­i­cal out­reach, the del­e­ga­tion par­tic­i­pated in in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions with mem­bers of State Par­lia­ment of Sax­ony and Ger­man Bun­destag. This in­cluded a meet­ing with Dr. Matthias Robler, Pres­i­dent of the State Par­lia­ment of Sax­ony, Stanis­law Til­lich, Chief Min­is­ter of the Free State of Sax­ony, Dr. Micheal Meis­ter, Par­lia­men­tary State Sec­re­tary for Fi­nance, Fed­eral Min­istry of Fi­nance and Hans- Joachim Futchel, Par­lia­men­tary State Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment and Mem­ber of Ger­man Par­lia­ment among oth­ers.

Clean­ing of rivers is a thrust area for In­dia. The na­tional mis­sion of Namami Gange is one of the core ini­tia­tives by the gov­ern­ment. The meet­ing of the Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans with Thomas Sch­midt, Cabi­net Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment of the Free State of Sax­ony re­it­er­ated the sig­nif­i­cance of clean­ing of rivers and shared lessons learnt from the Ger­man ex­pe­ri­ence. The case of clean­ing up river Elbe in the 1990s was dis­cussed in-depth. It was sug­gested to look into rain wa­ter har­vest­ing and a rec­om­men­da­tion in­cluded the tie up be­tween Sax­ony and Ut­tar Pradesh for Ganga clean­ing.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and PM Modi have em­pha­sised on Vocational Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (VET) as a thrust area. With In­dia's am­bi­tious Skill In­dia ini­tia­tive, Ger­many could con­trib­ute to the mod­erni­sa­tion of the ap­pren­tice­ship sys­tem and cur­ric­ula, sup­port SMEs in clus­ters to par­tic­i­pate in the de­vel­op­ment of VET and help in set­ting up an In­dian Na­tional In­sti­tute of Vocational Higher Learn­ing for work­ers. In this con­text FICCI Skill De­vel­op­ment (SDF), as part of its in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion strand, is steer­ing the Indo-Ger­man part­ner­ship on skills. The idea of skill de­vel­op­ment was brought for­ward dur­ing the Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans visit to Ger­many where the idea of “The role of the Cham­bers in Skill De­vel­op­ment” was elab­o­rated. Anurag Thakur em­pha­sised that with a coun­try like In­dia with a rich de­mo­graphic div­i­dend, Ger­man ex­per­tise in skilling and train­ing the youth is a much ad­vo­cated area.

There is grow­ing in­ter­est in co­op­er­a­tion in IT, biotech­nol­ogy, re­new­able en­ergy, green tech­nol­ogy, ur­ban mo­bil­ity & de­vel­op­ment and the en­ter­tain­ment industry. The idea of so­lar roof top tech­nol­ogy at the Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­ian meet­ing was ex­plored and it was iden­ti­fied that in re­mote ar­eas of In­dia where elec­tric­ity does not find its reach this so­lar tech­nol­ogy can be adapted.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of mega in­fras­truc­ture projects such as the DMIC and DFC, the idea of smart ci­ties and high speed trains, Ger­man cap­i­tal and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise is of ut­most sig­nif­i­cance. The del­e­ga­tion con­veyed the mes­sage of a resur­gent and in­vestor-friendly In­dia as part of a me­dia in­ter­ac­tion with the Han­dels­blatt – the lead­ing busi­ness news­pa­per of Ger­many. Dr. Lars Pe­ter Sch­midt, Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Kon­rad-Ade­nauer-Stiftung (KAS), men­tioned that the visit was aimed at en­hanc­ing the al­ready ex­cel­lent re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Ger­many and fos­ter­ing fur­ther di­a­logue be­tween pol­i­cy­mak­ers from both coun­tries. FICCI Pres­i­dent Dr. Jy­ot­sna Suri high­lighted that In­dia had mas­tered the last financial tur­bu­lence bet­ter than any other emerg­ing econ­omy and is a boom­ing mar­ket pos­si­bil­ity for Ger­many.

There is no deny­ing that In­di­aGer­many re­la­tions stand at a his­toric junc­ture and ini­tia­tives like FICCI's Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans pro­vide an im­por­tant plat­form for Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from In­dia and Ger­many to strengthen and de­velop In­dia-Ger­many re­la­tion­ship.

Next steps: Ger­man Chan­cel­lor, Dr. An­gela Merkel is sched­uled to visit In­dia in Oc­to­ber 2015. The Fo­rum is now plan­ning an en­gage­ment with an in­com­ing visit of a del­e­ga­tion of young MPs from Ger­many in the month of Oc­to­ber.

Fe­lic­i­ta­tion of Col. Vivek Kodikal, Re­gional Di­rec­tor – Trade Fairs, FICCI by Chan­drakant Jari­wala, Pres­i­dent, SGCCI.

Fe­lic­i­ta­tion of Col. Vivek Kodikal, Re­gional Di­rec­tor – Trade Fairs, FICCI by Chan­drakant Jari­wala, Pres­i­dent, SGCCI.

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