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Indian states eager to explore ‘China-Plus-One’ strategy at Davos

While Davos, the Swiss ski-resort town, is draped in a blanket of snow, pavilions set up by states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka dominate its promenade.

Indian states are leaving no stone unturned to attract investments to their respective regions at the 54th edition of World Economic Forum’s (WEF) from January 15 to 19, 2024.

“There is an opportunity to capitalise on the ‘China-plus-one’ strategy as more global firms are now diversifying their supply chains,” Karnataka minister for large and medium industries and infrastructure development, MB Patil, who is leading the delegation, told Moneycontrol.

Patil said that states, including Karnataka, will utilise the summit to attract investments from global companies.

“The Union government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme offers incentives to firms in various sectors. Many global firms are also interested in investing in India because of the skilled workforce, but we should offer little more incentives,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched the ‘Make-in-India’ campaign in 2015, encourages global firms to manufacture and assemble products in the country. Many global firms are diversifying their suppliers away from China, post-COVID, and amidst tensions between Washington and Beijing. However, India is also facing stiff competition from countries like Mexico, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

While Karnataka is known as the IT and R&D hub of India, boasting the fourth-largest technology cluster in the world, Tamil Nadu is the state with the largest number of factories in the country, and is an automobile manufacturing hub.

Telangana is a hub for the IT and pharmaceutical sector, while Maharashtra is India’s financial, commercial, and entertainment hub.

While Telangana chief minister A Revanth Reddy will lead the state delegation, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu delegations will be led by their respective industries ministers, MB Patil and TRB Rajaa. Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and IT-BT minister Priyank Kharge, who were supposed to attend the event, decided to skip it.

“Innovation Will Impact” is Karnataka’s theme for the WEF summit. “We have around 45 meetings lined up with world leaders and CEOs of various companies in Davos,” Patil told Moneycontrol.

Tamil Nadu plans to showcase its “highly skilled talent pool,” along with the distinctive Dravidian model. This comes after the Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet, where MoUs for investment projects worth Rs 6.64 lakh crore were signed.

“A key objective this year is to present our state’s highly skilled talent pool, effective policies, robust infrastructure, and to highlight Tamil Nadu’s distinctive approach to governance and politics, known as the Dravidian model. This model demonstrates how a society valuing diversity, climate awareness, and equity can drive economic prosperity,” said Rajaa.

Reddy, who assumed the position of CM of Telangana in December 2023, is wooing investments to the state. N Chandrababu Naidu, the former CM of United Andhra Pradesh, used to attend the event, followed by late Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajashekhar Reddy to showcase Andhra Pradesh as an investor-friendly state. Former Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao also used to attend it.

Telangana IT and industries minister D Sridharbabu told reporters that they will meet 70 industry leaders in three days. “Since the formation of Telangana in 2014, this is the first time that a chief minister is going to lead an official delegation to WEF. It is also a good platform to showcase the strength of our state as a leading IT and life sciences hub and attract investment,” said Sridharbabu.

Maharashtra, which has set up a large pavilion, is led by chief minister Eknath Shinde. The state successfully signed investment deals worth ₹1.4 lakh crore at the WEF 2023.

Shinde, last year, said that MoUs were signed with 19 companies to generate employment for over 100,000 people. This year, Maharashtra, facing intense competition from neighbouring Gujarat, is also seeking more investments.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh delegation is led by Additional Chief Secretary, Infrastructure & Industrial Development Commissioner Manoj Kumar Singh. Invest UP, the investment promotion and facilitation agency for Uttar Pradesh, has set up a pavilion. “Uttar Pradesh is all set for global collaborations and investments. We believe in showcasing our strengths and engaging in meaningful discussions with industry leaders. WEF provides an unparalleled platform to foster connections and explore synergies that can drive mutual growth,” said Singh. Moneycontrol

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