From left, India Chamber of Commerce President Seann Nelipinath, His Excellency Shri. T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India (Chief of Staff – Prime Minister’s Office, Consul General of India -Chicago Mukta Tomar. (Photos by J. Lee)
By J. LEE
MINNEAPOLIS (Sept 23, 2011) — India Chamber of Commerce held an international business forum called “Connect with Opportunities” Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The event featured His Excellency Shri. T.K.A. Nair, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India.
Introduced by ICC President Seann Nelipinath, speakers included Mayor R.T. Rybak, Consul General of Canada-Minneapolis Martin Lokken, and moderator Dr. V.V. Chari, University of MN Dept. of Economics. The Consul General of India -Chicago Mukta Tomar (f) was able to speak to attendees individually.
Mayor R.T. Rybak acknowledged the importance of Asian Indians in Minnesota and unifying the community.
Encouraging Minnesota investment in India, His Excellency Shri Nair spoke on opportunities in power, roads and infrastructure. With goals to “double trade to $500 billion in trade”, his list of other areas included electricity, e-projects, upgraded technology for small and medium size business, food processing, grain storage, upgraded education, food and beverage, health care, housing, household products, manufacturing, marine bio-business, medical devices, medical tourism, legal, recreation, telecommunications, transportation, utilities, waste management.
Identifying some India exports, Nair spoke of garments, textiles, jewelry, milk and sugar. He recommended “ICC help” in facilitating partnerships in India. Although the government can help facilitate some development, he was clear that “government can’t do things alone”, “can’t afford” to make investments in their education, healthcare, and infrastructure as before, and that “public/private partnerships” were sought.
Speaking of people migrating from rural areas to the cities for employment, Nair spoke on the need for housing and clean cities. He confirmed questions about challenges to establishing businesses in India that included restrictive labor laws and the government restricting company ownership and equity by different percentages depending on the location and local government.
In answering questions about government involvement in bids, Nair clarified that decisions are made by local governments and the process has to address the lack of land available for landfills.
Co-sponsors included the Embassy of India, Washington DC; Consulate General of India, Chicago; MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development’s Trade Office, Pepsico, University of Minnesota CIBER Division. The organizations will also co-sponsor ICC’s upcoming “Global Trade Summit 2011 – Trade Engine for Economic Growth” at the Minneapolis Hilton, Nov. 3, 2011. Information and registration is at www.indiachamber.org.
ICC President Nelipinath covered some of the mission and goals of the India Chamber of Commerce. These include promoting members’ businesses globally, helping to open doors in India, finding B2B partners, verifying credentials and assisting in trade logistics, working with government and partners in developing mutual business opportunities.
Indian partners are in 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier cities of Maharashtra (Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad), Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu (Chennai, Coimbatore), Karnataka (Bangalore), Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. Emerging partners are in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Meghalaya.
DEED’s Minnesota Trade Office is sponsoring an “Doing Business in India – Opportunities and Challenges”, October 13, 8-10am at the Carlson School of Management, and 12-2pm, St. Cloud State University. For registration and fees, contact [email protected]
They are partnering with Life Science Alley on The India Practicum: Market Opportunities for Medical Products in India – Why India, Why Now”, on Oct. 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Double Tree Hotel. For registration and fees contact www.lifesciencealley.org.