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Tokyo Summit to focus on Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor

By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri, IANS,

New Delhi : Several Indian and Japanese companies are likely to sign joint venture pacts worth billions of dollars at an upcoming business summit in Tokyo for setting up projects along the ambitous $90-billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, touted as the biggest infrastructure development project in the country that will touch on an estimated 15 percent of the population.

Development of industrial and infrastructure projects along the 1,483 km-long corridor connecting India’s political capital New Delhi with business capital Mumbai will be the focus of the three-day India-Japan Global Partnership Summit from Sep 5, organisers said.

“Hundreds of business-to-business meetings are planned at the event. Many are expected to result in joint ventures,” Vibhav Kant Upadhyay, founder and director general of the India-Japan Global Partnership Summit, told IANS.

The summit is being held by the India Center Foundation with support from the governments, as also industry chambers of the two countries. Over 4,000 people, including business leaders, academics and policymakers, are likely to attend the event.

Upadhyay, counted among those who conceived the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, said its master plan was ready and construction work would begin soon.

“It will be structured urbanisation. The work has already begun. The real development can be seen after 7-8 years,” Upadhyay, who is also chairman of the India Center Foundation, said in an interview.

Seven new cities are planned to be developed along the corridor that passes through six states — National Capital Region of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Three-fourths of the project will be in two states — Rajasthan (39 percent) and Gujarat (38 percent).

“Almost 80 percent fund will come from Japanese loan and assistance,” Yuichiro Sano, India representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is providing technical assistance for the project, told IANS.

Sano said regulators were in the process of selection of contractors for the project. “Most contracts should be awarded by the end of this year,” he said.

It is the biggest infrastructure development project in India estimated to cost over $90 billion. The funds for the project will come from the Indian government, Japanese depository receipts issued by Indian companies, Japanese loans and investment by Japanese firms.

“Many Japanese companies have shown interest to invest in the project,” said Upadhyay, adding the government may invite companies from other countries as well to invest. The corridor connecting Tokyo with Hiroshima in Japan will be the model.

“It will help attract foreign investments and give a big push to manufacturing growth.”

India targets to increase the share of manufacturing in the country’s gross domestic product to 25 percent by 2025 from 16 percent. The government has already announced a draft of the national manufacturing policy to create 100 million additional jobs by 2025.

The final policy is expected to be announced within a month.

Upadhyay said the bulk of the new manufacturing units would be set up along the Delhi-Mumbai corridor. According to official estimates, over 180 million people, almost 15 percent of the country’s population, will be impacted one way or the other by the corridor.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at [email protected])