Aurangabad the capital of Marathwada in Maharashtra, had no industrial presence till 1960. Today, it has leap-frogged into one of the best industrial districts with over 4,000 industries employing 1 lakh+ people and investments of over Rs 9,000 crore.
“We have five MIDCs and two growth centers, making Aurangabad the industrial base for sectors like auto components, white goods, breweries, appliances, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Hospitality and healthcare services have also risen in the last few years,” notes Balaji V Shinde, President, Marathwada Association of Small Scale Industries and Agriculture (MASSIA).
Reasons for progress:
MASSIA attributes this quick progress in Aurangabad to two major reasons:
• Cheap labor: As Aurangabad is centrally located, it is convenient for agri-workers from neighboring districts to travel. It prevents them from migrating to bigger cities and they can focus on farming during the peak season. That the standard of living of people is simple is an added advantage, reasons Dayanand A Modani, Sub Editor, UdyogSamvad, a MASSIA newsletter.
• Availability of skilled employees: The region boasts of seven engineering colleges, 15 poly-techniques and 500 state-run institutes which churn out skilled workforce at all levels each year.
Besides, most of the young start their own enterprises. “Most MASSIA members are first generation tech savvy entrepreneurs; with average age being 25 to 40,” remarks Ajay R Gandhi, Treasurer, MASSIA.
IT in Aurangabad
According to Shinde, IT promotion in Aurangabad started in 2003 with the formation of STPI. “Today, we have 22 IT units and six STPIs—a large number of which offer services to multinational customers in the US, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands,” offers the proud president.
Demand for IT is rising even from the domestic market, notes Gandhi. “With adoption of smartphones, many young entrepreneurs are doing financial transactions online, though at a personal level so far. They’ve not yet reached the enterprise mobility mark, as in Class A- cities.”
MASSIA is considering introducing automation at all levels to increase yield and boost productivity.
End-of-life equipment is now being replaced with CNC-based machines in the manufacturing sector. For instance, Gandhi himself transitioned to CNC-based machines in a bid to increase productivity of his printing business.
“Automation also helps us meet stringent statutory requirements,” he states.
Even as the association lauds efforts of OEMs in providing competitive pricing to boost IT adoption in the region, it laments lack of support and training as major drawbacks.
Gandhi adds, “Once equipment is installed, there is no support. That is essentially because the local dealers are not trained for it. OEMs should do more trainings not only for new products, but rehash trainings of older ones too.”
IT will play a major role in the overall businessgrowth in Marathwada. One area that MASSIA firmly believes will increase uptake of locally made products and services is PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’.
Asserts Shinde, “Besides encouraging domestic manufacturing, use of home grown products will add to the patriotic flavor and also significantly boostthe country’s GDP.”
The govt. is doing its bit as well. The upcoming Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) by the govt. of India, will be developed as a global trading and manufacturing hub, and Aurangabad is one of the districts to be covered!
“The govt. is planning to create eight industrial clusters for industries like auto components, pharma, and engineering, cotton ginning and printing by 2020. And MASSIA is preparing itself to leverage the opportunities,” Shinde concludes.
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