Washington, DC – With India’s national leaders focused on US-India cooperation, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) here is taking a lead to improve ties at sub-national levels. This was evident when Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Indian state of Maharashtra visited the US last week.
The US-India State and Urban Initiative, led by the CSIS Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies and the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, announced three new projects with the Maharashtra government as part of the initiative’s ongoing work. The US-India State and Urban Initiative is funded by the US Department of State.
Commenting on CSIS efforts, Kartikeya Singh, Deputy Director & Fellow at the Wadhwani Chair (CSIS) told IAT, “From Colorado to Maharashtra and Orlando to Bhopal, our efforts have shown that in order to truly deepen ties between the United States and India, one must build partnerships at the subnational level.”
The three initiatives were announced when Chief Minister Fadnavis attended a public forum on June 14, co-hosted by the CSIS Wadhwani Chair and the India Initiative at Georgetown University to outline his vision for the state of Maharashtra.
1. The government of Maharashtra and the Network for Global Innovation (NGIN) agreed to sign an agreement to develop a clean tech incubator ecosystem in the state of Maharashtra to accelerate adoption of sustainable technologies and encourage growth of trade and investment of these technologies. The parties will collaborate on the development and implementation of the “High Performance Innovation Ecosystem,” including planning, funding, build-out, and ongoing operations. The agreement also invites a Maharashtra-based designate of the government to become a member of NGIN.
2. CSIS announced it is collaborating with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) on research led by two professors—Dr. Usha Nair-Reichert from the School of Economics and Dr. Anjali Thomas Bohlken from the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. They will be beginning a pilot study to understand the consumer dynamics of and consumers’ responsiveness to adoption of new technologies in the electricity sector in Maharashtra, India. This pilot study is funded by the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. CSIS is facilitating collaborations with industry, government, and community groups in India to develop the second phase of this project, which will focus on renewable energy, the adoption of clean technologies, and financial innovations in the power sector in Maharashtra.
3. Pune, Maharashtra, was announced as India’s first Lighthouse City as a result of a Grand Challenge competition launched in 2017 by NITI Aayog and Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute. A Lighthouse City has demonstrated that it has smart urban development with population density of greater than 1 million that needs diverse modes of moving people around. The Lighthouse City is supported by an Urban Mobility Lab that in Pune will be initially hosted by the Pune Municipal Corporation starting in August 2018. The lab will advance the design, integration, and implementation of new solutions for complex transportation challenges, as well as how these ideas can be replicated and scaled. The goal: to demonstrate ways to upgrade transportation services to meet the needs of rapidly growing cities, while showing operational efficiency and reduction of pollution, congestion, and petroleum demand.
The US-India State and Urban Initiative, which promotes energy security and energy sector reform through direct engagement between United States and Indian subnational entities among other proposals, is working in the areas of governance and energy and the private sector.
“Our approach is to identify the energy priorities of Indian states, in this case Maharashtra, and find through extensive outreach across the US, the most suitable and diverse group of partners to match the state’s ambition,” Kartikeya Singh of the CSIS told IAT.
From the CM Office
According to a statement from the chief minister’s office, Fadnavis was also bestowed with the Outstanding Leadership in Development Award from Georgetown University and Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. The Outstanding Leadership in Development Award is a global award given annually to a remarkable leader who could be either head of state or a sub-national entity, the statement added.
During his meeting with the World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva here on June 14, Fadnavis sought assistance from the World Bank for a Multimodal Transport Corridor as well as a Rural Livelihood Project which aims to provide sustainable livelihood enhancements in 10,000 villages in the state. A statement from the chief minister’s office stated that the World Bank CEO assured Fadnavis of positive consideration to both the projects.
Fadnavis also attended a business discussion organized by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) where he spoke on Maharashtra’s growth story and infra-led growth model. Addressing a select audience of business people and others, the chief minister said that Ford Motor Company had proposed a USD 50 million investment to set up a “Centre of Excellence” for integrated mobility in Maharashtra for commuters across multiple modes of transport such as buses, trains, taxis, autos and metro.
Moreover, the statement said that Fadnavis met Dave Sutton of Lockheed Martin who expressed a desire to set up the first manufacturing line for F16 jets outside the USA. Fadnavis said that he would invite Lockheed Martin to set it up in Nagpur.