A private university of global standards, tourism development and health initiatives are among the many things that will be discussed as Chief Secretary J S Saharia meets industrialist Ratan Tata and his team today
At a time when the state desperately needs a boost for the development of its industrial sector and infrastructure, the Ratan Tata-headed Tata Trusts may soon give the government a Rs 50,000-crore reason for cheer.
Infrastructure, education, tourism and health are some of the key sectors that may get a major boost thanks to the keen interest shown by Tata Trusts. A strategic partnership is being worked out, which is likely to witness an investment of approximately R50,000 crore in the near future.
A crucial meeting to devise the future course of action will take place today at Sahyadri state guesthouse, where the state government team headed by Chief Secretary JS Saharia will discuss strategy with Ratan Tata and four of his top-level colleagues from the group. The meeting will decide on the mode of cooperation between the government and the Tatas, sources from the government said.
Sources said Ratan Tata has shown keen interest in the development of tourism as he feels the state has great
potential for it. The education sector is another area of his interest and the Tata group is inclined to set up a private university of global standards in Maharasthra.
Tata Trusts is the umbrella body that comprises Sir Do-rabjee Tata Trust, Ratan Tata Trust, Jamshed Tata Trust, The NR Tata Trust and JRD Tata Trust. All of these will invest in different sectors devised jointly by the government and the Tatas, say sources.
Chief Secretary Saharia said that he is quite optimistic about the Tata Trusts’ cooperation. After initial discussion with Ratan Tata, he set up a team of key officials to prepare a blueprint of cooperation. “Such was the response by the renowned industrialist that when I said I was ready to meet at his office, he declined and said he would come down to Mantralaya,” said Saharia, adding, “The state will benefit greatly as the resourceful Tata group will bring the best of talent with it”.
A state government team headed by Chief Secretary JS Saharia (extreme left) will discuss strategy with Ratan Tata and his top-level colleagues (left to right) Raju Bhinge, P R Menon and Sanjay Ubale
Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC, said the state tourism sector desperately needs private participation as the government has limitations when it comes to venturing into commercial activities. “We need good hotels, restaurants, ATMs, restrooms and amenities such as wi-fi connectivity at tourist centres and we are enthused by the keen interest shown by Tatas. Development of new tourist attractions, along with preservation of historic monuments, is also on the cards, which can be done through private participation,” he said.
When mid-day tried to contact the Tata Group, the PR agency representing it sought some time to respond. A text message to the group’s chief spokesperson Mukund Rajan, went unanswered.
Big guns come together
Besides Saharia, the team which will represent the state at today’s meeting comprises the additional chief secretary (ACS) of general administration department who looks after aviation; ACS of tourism and cultural affairs; principal secretaries of higher & technical education and industries departments; secretary for education department; and managing directors of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Maharashtra Airport Development Company.
The team from the Tatas comprises Raju Bhinge, CEO of Tata Strategic Management; P R Menon, chairman of Tata Consulting Engineers; Sanjay Ubale, MD, Tata Realty & Infrastructure; and R Venkatramanan, executive trustee of Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust.
Did you know?
In 2013, Maharashtra's tourism publicity budget was tripled from Rs 18cr to Rs 50cr. MTDC officials, however, say this sum is paltry compared to other major states, which spend between R100-150 crore