A World Apart
SANJAY SRIVASTAVA, BUSINESS HEAD, MAHINDRA WORLD CITY (MWC), JAIPUR, TELLS US WHAT MAKES THEIR INTEGRATED CITY THE RIGHT FIT FOR MANUFACTURING COMPANIES.
"MAHINDRA WORLD CITY IS MUCH BEYOND just an integrated business city. It is really a business destination of choice," proclaims Sanjay Srivastava, business head, Mahindra World City (MWC), Jaipur. These are not just empty words though, something I discovered during a tour of the sprawling, 3,000 acre campus.
Located on NH8, within the municipal limits of Jaipur, the city is set just off the Delhi-Mumbai Highway and within the influence region of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), making it an ideal pick for manufacturing companies. MWC Jaipur comprises three operational Special Economic Zones (SEZ) â€“ IT/ ITeS, Engineering & Related Industries and Handicrafts; and a Domestic Tariff Area (DTA); in addition to a Social & Residential Zone that is currently in the planning stage. All these are, of course, in keeping with Mahindra World Cityâ€™s core philosophy of 'Livelihood, Living and Life'.
"This is the right place for companies, and more importantly professionals who want to work in companies, which look at things holistically. Today, people want to stay close to work, while enjoying a better quality of life, and for that purpose, MWC Jaipur can be an ideal destination. Hence, from a larger perspective, we think that we are in the business of destination-making rather than city-making," believes Srivastava.
Set up in 2006, MWC Jaipur is a joint venture between Mahindra Lifespace Developers and RajasthanState Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO), and is currently home to 75+ corporates, including the likes of JCB, who have set up their largest plant in Asia at MWC Jaipur in a record time of 322 days (561 days from the buying of land to commencement of operations). Other leading companies include Infosys, Deutsche Bank, MetLife, Perto, Ball Corporation, TTK, Gaston Energy, Mahindra & Mahindra, among others. The venture has seen a total investment of Rs 3,300 crore so far, with direct employment provided to over 8,200 persons and cumulative exports amounting to Rs 5,788 crore as of June, 2017.
BETTER BUSINESS SENSE
Of course, given that such a large number of companies are investing at MWC Jaipur, the idea of a holistic and sustainable integrated city must definitely have some merit. For starters, amenities such as the plugn-play infrastructure, in-house operations & maintenance services, benchmark sustainable development, unique SEZ & DTA combination, on-site infrastructure amenities like STP, TTP, in-house nursery, on-site customs office etc., proximity to proposed rail freight and industrial corridor/ICD/dry port, security features, and modular plot options for scalability & flexibility, among others, are definite draws.
More importantly, according to the Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme (RIPS 2014), manufacturing enterprises have availed a number of benefits thus far, including, an investment subsidy of 30% of VAT and CST, which have become due and have been deposited by the enterprise, for seven years; Employment Generation Subsidy up to 20% of VAT and CST, which have become due and have been deposited by the enterprise, for seven years; exemption from payment of 50% of Electricity Duty for seven years, provided that for enterprises engaged in tourism, it shall be restricted to 25% of the Electricity Duty; exemption from payment of 50% of Land Tax for seven years; exemption from payment of 50% of Mandi Fee for seven years; exemption from payment of 50% of conversion charges payable for change of land use; and 100% exemption from payment of Entry Tax, to the enterprise making an investment of more than Rs 750 crore on capital goods for setting up of plant for new unit or for expansion of existing enterprise or for revival of sick industrial enterprise, brought into the local areas before the date of commencement of commercial production.
"In addition, Rajasthan is a power-surplus state with 17,900MW installed capacity and an abundance of skilled manpower," supplies Srivastava. In fact, MCW Jaipur boasts of a skill development centre, which has been specially set up by the Switzerland-based Joshi Foundation to address the pressing issue of lack of skilled labour in the manufacturing sector. The Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU) is a dedicated training centre with 100-plus advanced, CNC machines, primarily imported from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and utilised to train 90 students simultaneously, on a 'one machine, one student' basis.
"Currently, we're doing very well, since this is a one-of-its-kind facility in the country. However, if India wants to skill 50 crore people by 2022, we need to do more. Therefore, we have made plans to acquire more land at MWC Jaipur and set up a full-fledged university there. By 2017, we have a target to train 10 crore students to be skilled enough to work in manufacturing facilities, both in India and abroad," proclaims Brigadier (Dr) Surjit Singh Pabla, vice chancellor, BSDU.
On the other hand, KnitPro has made a name for itself in the surrounding villages of Jaipur, after it established a factory at MWC Jaipur; the company has generated employment for a large number of villagers since 2011. â€œWe already had a facility in Noida, but this destination is much more economical. We had been told that Mahindra World City was developed very well and that some companies had moved there, but we only realised the value of this move after having set up shop here, ourselves. Our turnover has grown by 1,250% since we started operations,â€ says a proud Rajkumar, GM, production, KnitPro International.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
And the positive impact does not stop at business gains. "The Mahindra Group genuinely feels that we are doing a much larger deed by trying to be in the space of sustainable urbanisation and creating world cities. One can find enough statistics to show that from about 30-35% of the population living in urban areas, the number is expected to become about 60-70%. Therefore, there is a need for planned, sustainable urbanisation that is built on social, environmental and economic progress; otherwise it will be a situation of chaos in the near future,â€ warns Srivastava. "Our structured, planned cities are being built in a way so as to also contribute to nation building. After all, if you are able to create a more structured environment in a planned city, it also reduces the pressure on the Government to create infrastructure," he adds.
Srivastava compares their planned city â€“ which, when completed, will have social, residential and commercial facets in addition to industrial infrastructure â€“ with mega buildings in other cities, for example, ITservicing buildings in Bengaluru or Gurugram. These developments have resulted in pressure on local infrastructure, with people spending four hours or more on the road, often exacerbated by the fact that road infrastructure is not up to the mark. â€œIt has always been a catch-up concept, with infrastructure like roads being built only once traffic becomes unmanageable. Instead, at MWC, we are mindful of long-term urban planning needs and build our developments in a manner that we are able to pre-emptively identify and cater to the future infrastructure requirements of all stakeholders. Flexibility is yet another key component of our planning process, since we recognise that citizen/stakeholder needs are continually evolving,â€ professes Srivastava.
MWC Jaipur has another unique recognition to its credit. It is the first project in Asia to receive a Climate Positive Development Stage 2 Certification from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a global network of large cities taking action to address climate change.
In keeping with their futuristic outlook, Mahindra Lifespace Developers has also launched a joint venture between its subsidiary Mahindra World City Developers and Sumitomo Corporation of Japan in order to set up an approximately 264-acre industrial park in North Chennai. In addition, it is also establishing a 350-acre (approx.), multi-product industrial park near Ahmedabad. For this venture, an MoU has been signed between the Government of Gujarat and a subsidiary.
Incidentally, both industrial cluster projects by Mahindra Lifespace Developers are being planned to provide core physical infrastructure including roads, power, data & telecom connectivity, water & waste management networks, in-house professional operations and maintenance services, as well as sustainable infrastructure, in order to provide businesses a hassle-free and efficient operating environment.
If MWC Jaipur is anything to go by, these new cluster projects will be welcome additions to Indiaâ€™s manufacturing growth journey. Hereâ€™s hoping for more such projects to propel the future of manufacturing in India.