Business Bureau :
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) and the Vidarbha Development Board (VDB). With this, a synergy could be created between the two organisations, one an NGO, the other a Government agency respectively, as the areas of work coincide. The MoU was signed by Chainsukh Sancheti, Chairman of VDB, and Rahul Upganlawar, Secretary-General, VED. Other Members of VDB included Dr Kapil Chandrayan, Expert Member, Prakash Dayre, Joint Director, and among VED office-bearers were Devendra Parekh, IPP, Pankaj Mahajan, V-P, Pradeep Maheshwari, V-P, and Navin Malewar, Treasurer. VED Council is a non-political organisation with the economic development of Vidarbha as its central theme.
It works as a mission to survey, identify, study and then pursue various thrust areas, the current ones being mines and minerals, MSMEs, logistics, tourism, education, agriculture and allied resources, MIHAN - SEZ opportunities, IT, environment, and arts and entertainment. It attempts to provide platforms to those who need them, and acts as a catalyst between them and the governments. State & Central. A few of VED Council’s recent projects undertaken for expediting development have been conferences for the promotion of mines & minerals including drafting of the Mining Policy of the State, a mandate given to VED Council by the Chief Minister, duly completed, promotion of MSMEs, logistics, contribution to the establishment in Nagpur of national-level institutes like IIM, NLU, AIIMS. The Vidarbha Development Board (VDB) has been established under Article 371(2) of the Constitution of India, by President of India in the year 1994. The Governor of Maharashtra in accordance with the power entrusted to him, established the three statutory development boards on April 30, 1994.
The role of the VDB is important from the State planning and policy making perspective too. The Chairman of the Development Board has been appointed as the ex-officio member of the State Planning Board. The members of the board are also the ex-officio members of the District Planning Committee (DPC) which prepare the district plan. The VDB is an active platform to raise the developmental concerns of Vidarbha. Time and again it has played its designated role to undertake region and district planning, review and suggest policies related to allocation of funds and has undertaken monitoring and evaluation of various government initiatives.
Some of the important areas of work of VDB are development of regional growth strategy, action plan for inland fisheries, citrus development, Irrigation issues, etc. The scope of this association is drawn with a mutual desire to co-operation on opportunities, which are in line with strengths and aspirations of both the organisations i.e. the development of Vidarbha.
A common agenda could create tie-ups in sectors like inland fisheries etc. Policy interventions could be worked out as in logistics, or made in sectors such as mining, and especially, in inland fisheries, where no State policies exist so far. A little more specifically, action could be taken in promoting various common thrust areas as in Vidarbha tourism, where circuits like the creation of diverse experiences in Tadoba, or circuits like Sewagram-Paunar-Anandwan, Lonar circuit, Pench-Kamptee-Mansar-Ramtek - as historical-Wakataka, religious-Buddhist, wildlife-tiger reserves, adventure tourism circuits, Chikhaldara as hill-station and adventure tourism etc.
In agriculture and allied areas, promotion of the Waigaon Haldi, a patent perhaps for the Bhiwapur chilli, and developing the ecosystems for rice and cotton clusters in Gondia and Bhandara and the processing and export of vegetables, developing a variety of agro-based industries from Bhandara to Buldana, developing Akola and Amravati in oranges and textile hubs respectively; creation of Ferroalloys clusters around Ramtek where manganese is mined. In short, the development of ecosystems in whatever are the strengths of different regions.
Another major area currently ‘happening’ in a big way is Aerospace with DRAL, TAL, and Air India already having taken the initiative to set up shop in MIHAN in Nagpur. The Defence sector has to be developed here too. Today India plans to spend $ 130 billion on military modernisation in the next 5 years, as achieving self-reliance in defence is as key target for the Government of India. The Government has opened up the Defence industry for private sector participation to provide an impetus to indigenous manufacturing. There are massive plans on to enhance Defence possibilities so the role of MSMEs can come into play. Rs 4000 crores worth of goods are imported and solutions are being worked out to reduce this. In the next few years orders would be given for Rs.40-50,000 crores for supplies by MSMEs and most contracts to Indians.
OEMs won’t make our guns, helicopters, small arms, rifles, communications equipment, personal protection equipment and all these would percolate down to the MSMEs. Workshops would be conducted for new entrepreneurs in SME and MSME sectors. The MoU could provide a fillip to all such developmental works, VED as the think-tank with resources help from VDB. In the course of fulfilling the mutual responsibilities under the MoU there will be a sharing of information and fulfilling mutual responsibilities in this arrangement. VED Council Nagpur through its industry members will act to connect gaps and help with entrepreneurship opportunities which would be a stepping stone in the economic development of this region.