Q. India is the biggest receiver of Japan ODA [Overseas Development Assistance] after China; please give an overview of the JICA projects for India
A. True, India is largest receiver of Japan`s ODA currently, Japanese cumulative commitment of ODA loans to India is at 3,800 billion Japanese Yen (Rs 2,30,000 crore approximately) as of 2013. JICA has signed around 240 ODA loan agreements with India in various fields ranging from road, metro projects, water supply and sanitation, environment conservation, power and several other infrastructure sectors. Every year we add 7 to 8 new projects for India. Flagship project is DMIC being the reflection of Japan`s 1964`s pacific belt development model. DMIC project will play a significant role in India`s economic, industrial and urban development. We hope and eagerly look forward that by 2020 minimum of 3 phases will be completed and DMIC zone will contribute to India`s GDP realistically; and By 2030 India will be reaping its benefits in terms of Manufacturing Hub in full swing and Job creation.
Q. After much speculation and hurdles DMIC first phase has started/kicked off; how do you see the journey so far
A. Well. As generally said; there were top 3 challenges initially. Land Acquisition, Tendering Process and getting teamed up with right authorities. As the project kept moving on every challenge was consistently studied and taken care of with effort from India Team. Currently we are hoping that Many EPC companies would come forward to take part in tendering, since all the projects are huge requiring strong technical capabilities feasibility studies are carried on. Japanese companies are little shy in taking projects 100 % by themselves due to unclearness and uncertainty in project execution. Otherwise there is huge potential for Japanese companies to Tie-up with Indian companies to execute much of the Infra projects.
Q. Please Explain about Japan`s Pacific belt development Model and how it reflects to India
A. During the rapid Economy growth period, Japanese society underwent various changes. In the 1960s, the Japanese government initiated the process of market opening in a strategic manner. Economic infrastructure was actively developed by opening of the Tokaido bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964, and a super highway comprising Nagoya and other nearby cities which is located nearby Water border. By 1965 Highway construction was completed and the 4 cities were having PORTS, in all of these cities the exports increased, demanding manufacturing. In other words, manufacturing plants had set up by companies to utilize the public infrastructure, Job creation was growing and middle class consumption grew. DMIC in India cannot be said fully reflection of Japan`s 1960`S pacific belt economy model, however it has substantial similarities. As the comprehensive development of Infrastructure and Urban development is taken into consideration in DMIC`s Master plan. Thus Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor(DMIC) to Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) all comprehensive projects will fuel into economy growth model.
Q. India is having 16th Loksabha election; and new government will be formed by June 2014, do you see any changes or impact for any of the JICA projects in India
A. In every government and every Indian state, where JICA has projects we have received much support always, though initially it was tuff to get through; After 2014 election when new government is formed ; we will still continue to work, Also we see projects to implement much faster as India is going through change in many ways.
Q. What are the new initiatives from JICA for India
A.For research and development, JICA supports to make enabling research network environment between IIT Hyderabad and Japanese Institutions. Last year we established the IIT-H consortium of Japan, The consortium is the umbrella organization consists of Japanese stakeholders from government, academia, and industry aiming at promoting collaboration with IIT-H. To invite Indian Students and Researchers for Japan. This program also aims at strengthening partnership between India and Japan through enhancing academic and research collaboration between India and various human resources consisting of the IIT-H consortium of Japan
Q. Your work brings you to India once in two months, you have travelled almost all parts if India; Please share your general views working in India
A. India is full of talent, full of energy, I Always feel excited to work on India Projects. People are so energetic and very talented, my observation is individually Indian people are very highly motivated. But when it comes to team performance productivity needs to be improved, this difference amuses Japanese people and Japanese companies. Nonetheless should the systemic approach is used in every activities ; India and Indian people have huge potential to Unleash and Unlock the opportunities to be leaders in whatever they do.
Q. There are 1072 Japanese companies in India, assuming there will be more companies wanting to set up their operations in India, given the recent de-merger news; any suggestions for improving growth and sustaining the Japanese Companies in India.
A. Well, Japanese Companies are yet to gain advantage of green field investments in India, and there are challenges to tackle in non-green field investments; Japanese companies should be making themselves to overcome those issues. At the same time Indian Companies side there should be a clear road map on How To on any given set of model or situations. For example how the new manufacturing Policy will enable growth or solve current challenges. However I see gradually these challenges, issues will pave way them to create opportunity for both Indian and Japanese companies to work together.
Interview ended with many notable points such as Tourism collaboration opportunity between India and Japan, opportunities for Indian Students in Japanese Universities and Japanese companies and so on.
Junko Nirmalais a Tokyo resident with 15 years of experience in technology and business consulting services mainly focusing on India-Japan Market and cross border related services. Her diverse background even includes a short stint as a Venturepreuner. During the last few years she has helped several Japanese companies with their India market entry strategies. Writer can be reached at email@example.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of theThe Financial Express, or any other entity of theIndian Express Group.