Consulate General of India Chicago, in collaboration with Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Grant Thornton Chicago organized an Executive Seminar on “Make In India”, one of the flagship programme of the Government of India on March 28, 2018 from 05:00 PM – 09:00 PM at Grant Thornton premises in Downtown Chicago.

The event was opened by Mr. O.P.Meena, Consul (PCV), acknowledging presence of dignitaries in the event. Mr. Meena explained the purpose of Make In India initiative launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narender Modi in September, 2014. It is a powerful, galvanising call to action to India’s citizens and business leaders, and an invitation to potential partners and investors around the world.

The seminar began with Mr. Vince Tomkinson, Office Managing Partner, Grant Thornton stating in his opening remarks that the evening will focus on opportunities and challenges for doing business in India. He said that Grant Thornton has 50, 000 members around the world with 3000 employees & 14 offices in India. The organization has been for years assisting Indian companies’ invest in USA.

Consul General Ms. Neeta Bhushan delivered the Keynote. She first thanked everyone for joining the event. Consul General said that India’s current growth rate which is amongst highest in the world has provided strong impetus to the global economic growth. She quoted IMF data on India’s contribution to world GDP was 2.4% in 2013 which has reached 3.1% in 4 years. Not just this 21% of world economy is fueled by growth in the Indian economy. She mentioned that the Government has taken 7000 reform measures including repealing 1400 rules to make it easier to do business in India. Consul General highlighted from UNCTAD’s report that shows India among the top 3 prospective host economies and among top 2 FDI destinations. She also spoke about the Goods and Services Tax that merged more than 23 taxes into a single tax system. She emphasized how Make In India campaign has proven affective for all sectors especially for electronics goods sector. The total trade between India and US was 124 billion in 2017-18. She conveyed that around 100 Indian companies like Mahindra and Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys, have created 113, 000 jobs in USA. She ended her speech saying that India ‘s growth presents a win win partnership for both India and USA.

The next speaker Mr. Mark Peterson, President & CEO, Intersect Illinois spoke on the strategic partnership between India and Illinois. He informed that there are 1800 foreign based companies in Illinois with $100 billion FDI. Highlighting Indian investment in Illinois he said there are 104 Indian owned firms in Illinois, that employ 6,275 people and contribute $1,087 million in global sales. These companies mostly are into whole sale trade, manufacturing, Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services, and Information. Vvf, ZenSar, Dabur, Wockhardt, Wipro, Suzlon are a few to mention. Moreover, there is immense potential to increase trade and investment.

Ms. Pallavi Verma, Senior Managing Director – US Midwest, Accenture the next speaker talked about three things, People and why they are most important asset (Talent), Why India is an innovation-led country (Economy), How Accenture supports the country’s priority Government initiatives (Corp. Citizenship). She reinforced that one of the many draws of India is its immense pool of talent: an English-speaking workforce at scale coming out of a very strong higher educational system. Currently, Accenture operates in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, Gurgaon & the National Capital Region. In India, Accenture launched a new Accenture Innovation Hub in Bangalore in July 2017. She said that in India Artificial Intelligence has the potential to add US$957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. Accenture is also committed to supporting Government of India’s priority government initiatives. It has trained more than 380,000 since 2010 under as support to Skill India and tracks 1,500 startups in India. She closed by saying that India will continue to flourish, particularly in the areas of technology and innovation.

The next speaker was Ms. Ridhika Batra, Country head and Director, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in USA spoke on Make In India success stories. The Key sectors include Automobile, Aviation, and Defense. Defense trade between the US and India increased from $1 billion to over $15 billion. Exports to India support over 260, 000 jobs across 50 states. She also mentioned few success stories of Make In India campaign like the Dhanush Artillery Gun System. Department of Procurement Procedure (DPP) for foreign companies is encouraging partnership with Indian companies. Large number of Media and Entertainment investments are also taking place with movies like having Indian producers ‘The Post’.

Mr. Rajesh Tripathi, National Leader India Business Group, Grant Thornton LLP, the next speaker spoke on the tax aspect of doing business in India. He informed that Grant Thornton has 60, 000 employees in 140 countries. There are 13 offices and 3000 employees in 13 states of India. He highlighted the Government introduced landmark reforms. The biggest of all being GST that impacted all the 29 states. Its easier to do business in India post the introduction of GST. He talked about the Jan Dhan Yojna and Key investment sectors under Make In India. The best way he said to enter Indian market is to liaison with local players and set up a liaison office in India. LLP or Private Limited Companies are good option to start. Taxes for a Private Limited company is 33% but for branches its 40% because branches are not legal entities. All business he informed have to be registered under GST. He also spoke about the transfer pricing for US company operating in India.

Dr. Ramesh Raman, Technology and Analytics Lead, Adani Group spoke about the role of Adani Group is playing in the Make in India campaign.

Last speaker for the evening Mr. John Kingsly, Resident Director Promotion Office, Marine Products Export Development Authority, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India talked about the marine and agricultural opportunities in India. He resourced to inform that as per GLOBEFISH, India is the fourth largest exporter of seafood in 2017, largest supplier of frozen shrimp to USA. He covered Tea, Coffee, Spices etc.

Ms. Laura Ortega, from Illinois Chamber of Commerce made the closing remarks.

The event was attended by over 200 Entrepreneurs, Heads of Business organizations and Community leaders from Chicagoland and US-Midwest.