In a first of its kind, a top American industry advocacy group will open its Bihar chapter to become partners in the development and facilitation of investments in the state. The US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), whose membership comprises of Fortune 500 companies, announced its decision following a industry roundtable with the visiting Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Modi, along with a high powered state delegation comprising Health Minister Mangal Pandey and other senior officials, is currently on a visit to the US as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s funded Bihar Technical Support Program. Hosted by the USISPF, the roundtable on Wednesday was attended by representatives from some of the top American companies like Amazon, FMC and Qualcomm, whose officials expressed their keen interest in becoming a partner in Bihar’s developmental journey.
The business leaders were apprised of the double-digit growth Bihar has achieved over the last decade and the vast investment opportunity it offers in sectors like agri-technology, food processing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy and skill development among others.
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Encouraged by the interest of US industries in the state, Gaurav Verma, chief operating officer of USISPF, announced to open a Bihar Chapter under the Strategic Partnership Forum to enable development of partnerships and facilitation of investments in an organised manner.
“The first of its kind initiative by this American industry advocacy group is aimed at establishing a ‘true partnership’ between Bihar, which is the fastest growing Indian State and the business and industry leaders in the United States, which is the world’s largest economy,” Verma said.
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During the roundtable several business leaders showed interest to invest in Bihar considering wide opportunities. Shawn Whitman from Agri-chem firm FMC (Food Machinery Corporation) expressed interest in exploring investment opportunities in agriculture technology and making Bihar their base for Eastern India, a media release said.
Similarly, Ron Somers representing the pharmaceutical innovator Gilead Sciences expressed interest in volunteer licensing to enable availability of top-line drugs for treating illnesses like Hepatitis, HIV and Kala-azar at low and affordable prices. Other business groups expressed interest to invest in the arenas of technology, higher education among others.
David Roth from Amazon explained how organised retail is growing in Bihar and hoped to create more jobs by setting up logistics and distribution chains in the state.
The delegation from Bihar also had a meeting with World Bank officials in Washington DC, seeking help to address its major socio-economic challenges, in addition to improving its infrastructure.