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Interview Mr Kunal Kumar: India’s Smart Cities Mission, perspective for French companies

Aurélien Sostaponti - 31-mai-2019 07:10:45
BUSINESS FRANCE IN INDIA India’s Smart Cities Mission Perspectives for French companies on the occasion of Ambition India 2019 – Business France Replies by: Mr Kunal Kumar Joint Secretary (Mission Director – Smart Cities), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India Q1. Could you please provide a brief introduction of India’s Smart Cities Mission (SC Mission)? India’s Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015. The main objective is to promote cities that provide holistic and integrated infrastructure and a great quality of life to their citizens while maintaining a clean and sustainable environment. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and idea is to look at compact areas, create replicable models which will act like lighthouses to other aspiring cities. The process of selection of 100 smart cities was based on the principle of Cooperative and competitive federalism —all cities were given equal opportunity to enter through All India Challenge conducted in four rounds. The cities competed in a two-stage challenge process at the State and Central level. Key features of this process were Citizen Engagement and City Empowerment where cities were encouraged to decide their aspirations and execute them with support from Central and State Government. Integration, innovation and sustainability are guiding principles of the Smart Cities implemented through provision of integrated infrastructure and services, promoting circular economy and sustainable habitats, reimagining paradigms of governance and spurring innovation in delivery of solutions. Technology is one of the many instruments that smart cities are adopting to solve urban challenges. Inclusiveness is built into the mission to ensure that each and every citizen benefits from the urban transformation that is taking place in the smart cities. Each Smart City has formulated its own concept, vision, mission and plan (Smart City Proposal--SCP) which is appropriate to its local context, resources and level of ambition. Every SCP includes core-infrastructure elements such as assured water supply, electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient mobility and public transport, affordable housing, safety and security, health and education. Smart Solutions in SCP include a bouquet of services that ensure that service delivery levels are achieved and measured, citizen services are seamlessly delivered, grievances are timely registered and resolved and safety is increased through video surveillance and monitoring. Q2. Please share some highlights of the progress of the Smart Cities Mission since its launch in 2016? Since the launch of the mission in June 2015, the work has progressed at a brisk pace. 100 cities were selected over a period spanning from January 2016 to June 2018. Post selection, each city has incorporated an SPV or Special Purpose Vehicle, with dedicated management and organisation structure to drive the project implementation and other initiatives of the mission. The SPV has appointed the project management consultant (PMC) that will support the SPV in planning, design and implementation of the projects. The projects can be broadly categorised into four themes : • Ease of Living - urban mobility, affordable housing, water and sanitation, safety and security, vibrant open spaces • Smart Governance – Integrated Command and Control Centres, Smart Card, Online Services, Intelligent Traffic Management System, Smart Poles • Connected Communities – Smart Education/ Classrooms, Skill Development, Public Art, Built Heritage • Urban Resilience – Solar and Wind Energy, Waste to Energy Plants, Green Buildings, Energy Management The 100 smart cities have proposed to execute 5 151 projects worth € 26.65 billion (INR 2 05 018 crores) in 5 years from their respective dates of selection. Financial innovation is built in the design of their capital investment plans. 64 % of the total projects i.e. 3492 projects, worth € 17.16 billion (INR 1 32 068 crore) have been tendered in SCM of which work orders have been issued in 41 % i.e. 2745 projects worth € 11.32 billion (INR 87 131 crore). 860 projects worth € 1.88 billion (INR 14 465 crore) have been completed. This is a significant increase in pace of implementation—289 % increase in tendered projects and 358 % in implementation/completed in last 16 months! Mission Cities have successfully expedited work on key projects which include: Integrated Command and Control Centers (ICCC) in 71 cities with operational in 16 cities; Smart streets projects in 69 cities; Smart Solar energy projects in 47 cities; Smart Water management projects in 67 cities; Smart Waste Water management projects in 56 cities. Projects are being executed through Public Private Partnerships in 61 cities. Q3. With regards to the Indo-French cooperation on Smart Cities, what views would you like to share? The relationship between India and France dates back to several decades and has been scaling heights in recent years. Indian Prime Minister paid a landmark visit to France from 09-12 April 2015. Former French President Hollande paid State visit to India during 24-26 January 2016 and was our chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebration. Our Prime Ministers have been meeting regularly on different platforms. The scale of cooperation between the two countries may be understood from the fact that almost 1000 French companies are present in India with a total turnover of more than € 17.8 billion (20 Billion USD). French companies have; the third largest FDI inflow, 25 R&D centres in India and employed around 300 000 people in India. On the other side, 120 Indian companies operating in France with an estimated investment stock of 1 billion Euros and employing around 7000 people. With regard to the Smart City Mission in India, France and India are collaborating on a very interesting project, City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) Challenge. CITIIS was launched on 9th July 2018 by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Union (EU) and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA). The program, the total size of which was € 100 Million, was open to all the 100 smart cities During the Challenge process for selection of projects under CITIIS, 36 Smart cities submitted a total of 67 proposals belonging to various themes. Of these, 13 projects from 13 cities and 12 States were selected for award by a distinguished jury comprising of nine experts from India and France. MoUs have also been signed between AFD (French Development Agency) and UT of Chandigarh, Puducherry and State Government of Maharashtra for development of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Nagpur. (Support for preparation of SCPs and implementation of projects) As part of urban transport improvement initiatives in India, financial assistance to various Metro projects were provided by AFD such as Bangalore Metro (€100 million - Phase 1, € 200 million -Phase 2), Kochi Metro (€ 180 million) and Nagpur metro. With regard to technical collaboration, technical support was provided to various Metro projects such as signaling system in Bangalore Metro, telecommunication and power & traction in Kochi Metro etc. The two countries have been working together in several fields ranging from civil nuclear cooperation, defense, and space to cultural, scientific and technological areas, including cybersecurity and digital cooperation. I would like to see this cooperation grow in the areas of urban development and combating climate change. Q4. In terms of projects, kindly elaborate the type of projects for which international companies can be useful to India’s Smart Cities Mission. I would like to see international industry actively participating in India’s urban sector via one or more of the following three tracks: 1) Providing technical support/capacity building support to cities/design and execution professionals already working in India; 2) Undertaking projects design and implementation of projects through competitive bidding/consortium building; and 3) Bringing in investment to Indian projects. Some areas we would like their participation in are: • Smart energy systems, net zero cities/precincts • Urban design of complete streets Reviving local economies • Increase on disaster resilient cities and communities • Urban Mobility and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) • Design of cities promoting circular economy; water and waste management Design of accessible urban spaces for the old and the people with disabilities Q5. Could you help us understand what are and will be the different types of preferred tendering processes to be used for projects under the Smart Cities Mission? We do not prescribe any particular tendering process to be used for projects under the Smart Cities Mission. The smart city SPV has the authority to carry out the tendering process for all projects. The tendering process is often guided by the procurement rules prescribed by the state governments. The state governments have their own procurement rules, procurement manual and in some instances standard documents to be followed by the state agencies. The city SPV undertakes a project development phase for individual projects that includes preparation of the feasibility study and/or Detailed Project Report (DPR). The tendering of the projects is done after the approval of the feasibility study/DPR. The tenders are published widely to maximise participation. Most of the tenders are evaluated both on cost and quality; lifecycle costs are taken into consideration for long gestation projects. Level playing field is made available so that the best companies can participate. Their participation has been one of the highlights of the Mission. Not only the best Indian companies, but renowned international companies have participated and are successfully executing projects in various cities. Q6. Can you elaborate what is the emphasis given, under the SC Mission to 3 sectors: mobility (urban transportation), water-waste management and connectedness of services for citizens? The Smart City Mission in India is envisioned as an urban rejuvenation initiative encompassing holistic development of urban areas including, but not limiting to, smart command and control centre, smart roads, smart solar, smart waste water and smart water projects. The three sectors with regard to mobility (urban transportation), water-waste management and connectedness of services for citizens are an integral part of the Mission and have been central to its objectives.Mobility (urban transportation): Smart transportation leverages smart infrastructure that includes multi-modal connected conveyance, automated traffic signals, tolls and fare collection, data integration—incorporating weather and traffic data, linking emergency services data as well as information from government agencies— drives the system. A central command centre ties together the smart transportation ecosystem, with real-time and updated data, handling passenger information, traffic signals, incident management and vehicle health monitoring. Optimized ‘on-demand services’ ensure that citizens can use all modes of transport according to their needs. Shared mobility solutions help provide first and last mile connectivity in conjunction with public transportation, they can act as feeder services and improve access to metro/rail or bus services. We are aiming to make public transportation robust and accessible through multi-modal shared mobility, so that citizens can choose it for all their commuting needs be it travel for work, travel for daily needs or for leisure. This can help move people away from private vehicles, which can contribute to lowering congestion and pollution. Cities under the Mission, are using technology to develop such seamless and connected transportation systems. Technology driven smart public transportation offers more attractive, reliable, convenient and complete choice of mode to commute. This reduces dependency on cars, arrests urban sprawl, and enables city authorities to develop compact cities with more focus on moving people rather moving cars. Lesser cars on roads will also reduce city’s air pollution levels. Moreover, with the continuous advancement in development of electric vehicles, smart transportation is destined to transform cities to zero emission mobility smart cities. In the Mission cities till date, total of 734 smart transportation projects worth € 3.64 billion (INR 28000 crore) are under implementation/completed. Electric mobility projects worth € 0.08 billion (INR 601 crore) are under implementation/completed in 21 cities. Public transport operations and traffic management are integral part of all ICCC enabled cities. Smart streets worth € 0.67 billion (INR 5146 crore) are under implementation/completed in 35 cities. I would like to mention that this is just the tip of the iceberg and many more such projects are being conceived across the country as I pen this down. Water and Waste Management: Under Smart Cities Mission various initiatives are undertaken for improving water systems in smart cities. These projects include installation of smart water meters, providing house service connections, upgradation of water supply systems, interlinking of water network data with SCADA system etc. The aim is to upgrade the existing water supply systems to 24X7 water supply systems. A total of 315 projects with estimated cost € 2.96 billion (INR 22 817 crore) are at various stages of implementation across the Mission. Of these, 35 projects worth € 0.16 billion (INR 1218 crore) have been completed, 126 projects worth € 1.32 billion (INR 10 119 crore) are under implementation and 45 projects worth € 0.57 billion (INR 4391 crore) are under tendering stage. Several initiatives with regard to waste management are also being implemented under this mission. These projects include waste to energy plants, waste to compost plants, waste water treatment plants, recycling and reduction of construction and demolition waste etc. A total of 323 waste management projects with estimated cost € 1.96 billion (INR 15 116 crore) are at various stages of implementation across the Mission. Of these, 90 projects worth € 0.19 billion (INR 1456 crore) have been completed, 177 projects worth € 1.32 billion (INR 10 182 crore) are under implementation and the rest 56 projects worth € 0.45 billion (INR 3478 crore) are under tendering stage. Regarding waste to energy plant, a total of 18 projects worth € 0.31 billion (INR 2401 crore) in 17 smart cities are at various stages of implementation. Of these, 4 projects worth € 0.026 billion (INR 202 crore) have been completed, 6 projects worth € 0.23 billion (INR 1790 crore) are under implementation and 2 projects worth € 0.043 billion (INR 338 crore) are under tendering stage. As mentioned in the case of mobility, there are many more projects than the ones which have found mention here, and hence the amount of work that remains to be taken up is clearly very large. Connectedness of Services for Citizens: Smart Cities leverage ICT based technologies and digitalisation to make governance citizen-friendly and cost effective, bring about accountability and transparency, provide services without having to go to municipal offices, form e-groups to listen to people and obtain feedback, and use online monitoring of programs and activities with the aid of online tools. In line with this, Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCC) are being built by many smart cities to help cities in better urban planning and management. ICCCs function as single source of information and point of resolution of the civic functions of the city. They are bringing transparency through information sharing, a step towards becoming an inclusive city. Some of the ways an ICCC will impact citizens’ lives are: • Improved decision making for (local and other levels of) governments • Improved environmental sustainability and climate change outcomes. • Improved quality of services to citizens • Safety of citizens • Making cities more inclusive A total 71 out of 100 smart cities have started work on ICCC as one of its projects under the Mission. Till date, 16 Smart Cities have operationalised ICCCs worth € 0.38 billion (INR 2927 crore), work is in progress in another 44 cities worth € 0.54 billion (INR 4170 crore) and remaining 11 cities have their projects under tendering. Q7. Regarding the finances of the projects under the SC Mission, what is the extent of the available government funding and to what extent is the PPP and the private funding expected? The Mission encompasses 100 cities which have proposed to execute 5151 projects worth € 26.65 billion (INR 2 05 018 crores) in 5 years from their respective dates of selection. innovation is built in the design of their capital investment plans. The distribution of funding envisaged from different sources is as follows: • Central and State government: € 12.16 billion (INR 93 553 crore) (45%), • Convergence : € 5.46 billion (INR 42,028 crore) (21%), • Funds from PPP : € 5.33 billion (INR 41,022 crore) (21%), • Loans/Debt : € 1.27 billion (INR 9,843 crore) (4%), • Own sources : € 0.34 billion (INR 2,644 crore) (1%), Other sources: € 2.07 billion (INR 15 930 crore) (8%). Q8. Several foreign investors have remarked that most ULBs are not financially selfsustainable and tariff levels fixed by the ULBs for providing services often do not mirror the cost of supplying the same. Could you please share your opinion in this regard with us? I ascribe to the idea of ‘Think Global, Act Local’. While most development takes place at city level, they have to be mindful of the impact of their actions on the planet. To achieve that we must empower our cities to not only act but also think, analyse and take decisions. Having said that, cities need to become autonomous in terms of meeting their financial and other resource needs for infrastructure development, and day to day management. Lack of adequate infrastructure adversely affects a city’s ability to attract investment, and hence economic sustainability. Most of the ULBs lack in mobilization of resources and financial autonomy. The total revenues of all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in India merely amounts to about 1% of India’s GDP. The resource base of ULBs typically consists of their own sources, state revenue, government grant, loans from state governments, and market borrowings. They are sometimes not aware of the opportunities and avenues of generating revenues through taxes and non-tax charges. Even if they are aware, they do not have the skill to optimize tax collection. ULBs in India, therefore, have a minimal revenue base and largely dependent on Central and State grants, which constrains the ability of ULBs to invest adequately in capital expenditure like creating infrastructure and, thereby, improve quality of life in the city. Strengthening capacities of ULBs is necessary for effective resource mobilization. Their financial capacity is often restricted not only by low tax base but also low capacity for mobilization of existing resources, as result of which the ULBs are not able to harness property tax as per their potential due to undervaluation; non-availability of database of properties; low rates; low collection efficiency and lack of indexation of property values. We do realise financial self-sufficiency of the ULBs is an absolute must. Steps are being taken at all levels to empower ULBs to become self-sufficient. While the Constitution of India envisaged a two-tier system of federation, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 added third tier of government viz. urban local bodies. The amendment aimed at devolution of functions, finances and functionaries to ULBs. We, at the Ministry encourage cities to raise funds through municipal bonds, review of property tax system to improve efficiency and transparency in collection and mobilization of resources. Only in the last couple of years we have started to see a renewed vigour from Indian cities in raising money from the market through the instrument of Muni bonds. Several new initiatives for financial innovation are also being attempted and are showing encouraging signs of transformation. We are working on Capacity building of local government leaders such as Commissioners in : • financial management, preparation of financial statements for increased efficiency • improving the quality of service delivery which is the cornerstone for effective and sustainable urbanisation • exploring innovative/alternative sources of revenue generation at the municipalities level such as PPP, Municipal bonds, venture capital financing, crowd source financing, entertainment tax, mobile towers, user charges for solid waste, water, parking, value capture financing, etc. • enhancing citizen participation, e-governance tools like on-line procurement, tenders, and online expenditure reports. I am sure with all the efforts Government is making in this direction, local governments will soon be in a better position than they were a few years ago.

Tripartite MOU signed between BOI, EDB and Business France

Purva Marwaha - 13-juil.-2018 08:29:30
Friday, 13 July 2018     Agreement will enhance cooperation, trade and investment  A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and Business France today.   BOI Chairman Dumindra Ratnayake, EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte and South Asia Head of Business France Sophie Clavelier signed the MOU on behalf of the respective organizations.   BOI is the investment promotion agency of the Sri Lankan Government and functions as the central facilitation point for investors with the purpose of improving Sri Lanka’s investment climate.   The SLEDB is Sri Lanka’s premier organization for the promotion and development of exports. Business France, an agency of the French Government, has the task of developing the internationalization of French companies as well as promoting the image of France in the world and promoting foreign investments in France. Also participating in this event was Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Jean-Marin Schuh as well as senior officials of the BOI, EDB and Business France.   BOI Chairman Dumindra Ratnayake welcomed the other signatories to the MOU.  He stated: “This MOU is a very positive development since it will help to increase in the future investment in areas such as manufacturing and infrastructure. It also has to be seen in connection with the FTAs that Sri Lanka has entered into with India, Pakistan and Singapore and will sign in the future with China. These FTAs give market access to goods produced in Sri Lanka.” He added: “Another important development is the Port City with many opportunities for construction and other investment in the future.”   Ratnayake added that the agreement would help to strengthen relations and facilitate trade and investment with France in the future. EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte stated: “We have had a very positive meeting with Business France. France is the sixth largest market for Sri Lankan exports to the European Union.”   She added: “Sri Lanka is to launch the National Export Strategy and this will also generate greater interest in our products. Currently we are promoting ship and boatbuilding, spices to be used in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics and of course the IT sector. It is our decision to focus just on three sectors for the moment and these are sectors where France is very strong.”   Head of Business France South Asia Sophie Clavelier stated: “We had a very positive meeting and I am excited to sign this MOU on behalf of the CEO of Business France.  We must ensure that this MOU must live and must work together in developing certain niche areas that Sri Lanka has to offer. One area which I would like to see develop is the Agro Sector where Sri Lanka has a lot of potential.”   She added that a country such as Sri Lanka should not look at competing with giant economies such as India but that “Sri Lanka should be developing niche sectors that are quality orientated. We should not look at large but at quality and high-end sectors.” Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Jean-Marin Schuh also stated: “The MOU will enhance economic co-operation between Sri Lanka and France. We are currently focusing on expanding French exports as well as Sri Lankan investment in France.”   He added: “There are certain areas where l see many possibilities. For example, the French side could be interested in developing Sri Lankan ports as France has many leading shipping companies. I also see opportunities in the development of tourism.  This is an area where France has considerable experience and in 2020 our country will attract 120 million tourists in the course of the year. Other areas that are very promising are co-operation in the financial sector and also we are currently involved in the development of mini-dairies.”    Under the agreement, the parties are to exchange information and provide mutual support for the benefit of their clients and also to promote economic growth in both Sri Lanka and France.  In addition, the MOU seeks to encourage each party to promote the image of the other country and support FDI from its nationals to the other country. Another clause of the MOU stipulates that the party will exert their influence for the promotion of commercial and industrial partnership between French and Sri Lankan companies. The MOU also includes a commitment for the provision of commercial information and for assisting each other in organising fairs, seminars and business missions and co-operation in areas such as publications and creating awareness on investment environment, policies and regulations.   Each party is to provide the other with available and relevant information on initiatives with the purpose of increasing business for French and Sri Lankan companies in each other’s markets.   Furthermore, periodically meetings will be organised whenever it is necessary to evaluate the development of joint activities or future co-operation between the parties.   It is also important to note that each party is responsible for its own costs of operation. The agreement will be in effect for a period of two years and would be automatically renewed unless notice is given by one of the parties. The MOU also covers intellectual property rights and the use of trademarks and logos of their signatories. There is also a mechanism for consultation between the signatories of the MOU. The MOU augurs well for future expansion of tourism, trade and investment from France to Sri Lanka.    

EOLIS air manager, 1st intelligent air filtration system to be launched in India

Thomas ILHE - 16-mars-2016 08:39:30
NatéoSanté, a French company specialising in air quality treatment, is about to launch EOLIS, the first intelligent air filtration system especially conceived for the Indian market. Manufactured in France, EOLIS is intended to be made in India later this year, at EOLANE industrial plant in Bangalore. EOLIS will be on sale in India from May 2016 and distributed thought our Indian Partners.   EOLIS air manager has been conceived from the initial idea to provide an air filtration system combining high performances and simplicity of use. Tailored for professionals in home appliances, hospitality and heath/medical sectors, EOLIS will incorporate a filter system composed of a medical grade filter HEPA H13 or ULPA U15 and a high density active carbon filter able to treat an area of either 60 or 120 m² (two versions will be proposed). Nateosanté air filtration systems are equipped with the most efficient filters on the market. In order to ensure 99.9% purification, our units are silent, reliable, easy to use, adapted to your needs and energy efficient. Natéosanté is very successful in Asia, with several trusted references (Renault, PSA, Mutualité Française, Miele …).    The Indian market is extremely promising as declared by Mr. Stéphane Monnier, International Business Development Manager: “ India is a strategic market for our company and we want to provide Indian professionals with the best equipment to treat air pollution. Some of the cities in India like New Delhi are facing huge challenges due to very heavy levels of concentration of fine and ultrafine particles in the air, and NateoSante wants to work with Indian professionals with products like EOLIS that have a proven track record for improving quality of air and quality of life.”  EOLIS is more an AIR MANAGER than an Air Purifier.      Thanks to the ACTIV mode, EOLIS is a smart unit automatically adapted to your environment. It includes a monitoring system easy to use thanks to a three user control interface: touch screen panel, computer or smartphone. Because each product is unique and get a specific ID number, we can see how it works and when you need maintenance and filters to be replaced.     EOLIS air manager will be available in India from May 2016 and distributed thought our Indian Partners. Available in two versions depending on the area surface to be treated (60 or 120m²), it is the first intelligent air filtration system to be marked with CE certifications.   About NATEO SANTE: NatéoSanté is a French company created 7 years ago and specialising in quality of indoor air. The company has already provided thousands of families and professionals in France and in Asia. Our product line has been built and improved day after day, through concrete feedback from our customers, enabling us to become a reference on the market. Our experts know the problems which may be faced by our customers, we work every day to offer them solutions by taking full account of the specificities of each environment. For further information, please visit: http://www.nateosante-pro.fr/ About Business France: Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France. It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and also runs the V.I.E international internship program. Business France has 1,500 personnel, both in France and in 70 countries throughout the world, who work with a network of public- and private-sector partners. For further information, please visit: www.businessfrance.fr and youbuyfrance.com.in .    Company contact: Mr. Stéphane MONNIER   NATEO SANTE   International Business Development Manager   Tel: (+33) 2 85 52 06 75 / @: stephane@nateosante.fr       Press contact:   Mr. Thomas ILHE   Business France, French Trade Commission in India Trade Officer. Tel: 011 4319 6303 / @: thomas.ilhe @businessfrance.fr  

The Lille region of northern France has set an exceptional precedence of transition

Ridhima Verma - 17-mars-2015 11:04:56
  A transformation   The Lille Region of northern France has set an exceptional precedence of transition   F rance, once at the centre stage of the Industrial Revolution, has been witnessing another revolution of a kind across its industrial ecosystem. For over two decades, some of the regions of this European nation have been undergoing a metamorphosis. Leading from the front is its Lille Region. Once known for its textile mills and coal mines, this northern region of France has been under transformation, with the traditional businesses gradually giving way to the services sector, led by technology clusters and innovation centres. Most importantly, the transition has been smooth and seamless, even as there have been concerted efforts to preserve the vital component of heritage.   This strategically located region, backed by its well-developed infrastructure and human resource pool, has been attracting businesses from across the world. The region’s specific clusters and innovation hubs, spanning over areas like information and communication technologies ( ict ), multi-media, digital arts, technical textiles, retail & logistics, healthcare, plastics and green business are not only attracting matured enterprises, but also offering customised incubation and promotional facilities for aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses.   Global names like ibm , Microsoft, Capgemini, Amazon, Coca-Cola, dhl , Fedex, Bayer Healthcare, gsk Vaccines, Nestlé, Toyota, Thyssen Krupp, etc, have made their presence felt in this region. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the region, faced with a difficult period after the decline of the coal, mining and textile industries, is all set to script a remarkable turnaround story. Indian it major Tata Consultancy Services, which has been in France for over a decade now, also put up its office in February 2013 in Euratechnologies, a high-tech cluster and incubator, dedicated to the ict sector. Closer to the city of Lille, Euratechnologies has emerged as an ict centre for excellence, providing a central location for businesses, start-ups, laboratories and educational institutions through a range of innovative services.   The centre has come up in a textile manufacturing mill, without upsetting the basic building structure. it has been renovated and currently hosts over 150 ict -related companies, including 70 start-ups and five major ones including tcs, ibm and Microsoft. In just five years of its operation, the cluster, having promoted on the ppp model, has created 3,000 new jobs. The cluster is looking to attract 500 technology companies with 6,000 employees by 2018. “In a short span of time, our project has generated a phenomenal response,” says Raouti Chehih, ceo, Euratechnologies. “We have managed to create one of the biggest ecosystems in digital technologies. In fact, currently, we boast the world’s largest incubator.” Euratechnologies, which clocked a turnover of over € 200 million recently, is aiming to double the same in the next three years.   “Being present at Euratechnologies enables us to enjoy the right kind of ecosystem and manpower availability for catering to the needs of our customers,” says Nicolas Sohier, director, France sales, tcs . “Backed by a series of advantages, we have been effectively as well as competitively able to service our customers in the retail sector. Moreover, we also reap the benefits of networking with companies present in the cluster.” tcs, which has got 35 employees now, intends to expand itself into a larger office over the years. The company has been operating in France since 1992 and has over 50  clients across various industries. It  has significantly strengthened its  position through local hiring and investments in recent years.    In recognition of these initiatives, it was also conferred the special award for investment and innovation by the Greater Paris Investment Agency in 2012. In June last year, the company acquired Alti sa , an it services company in France, for a value of € 75 million in an all-cash transaction. The French company, a leading technology services firm, has strong expertise in it services, including enterprise solutions, assurance and crm solutions. This acquisition has further strengthened tcs ’ ability and footprint to service its customers in France and other regions in Europe. “This acquisition underlines our long-term, strategic commitment to France, which is the third-largest it services market in Europe. I am confident that this acquisition will help us accelerate our growth and presence in France,” says N. Chandrasekaran, ceo & managing director, tcs .     Turn around   Another Indian company that has made its presence felt in northern France is Titagarh Wagons Ltd ( twl ), which took over the manufacturing facility of Arbel Fauvet Rail ( afr ) in July 2010. The century-old French company, which specialised in designing and making specialised tank cars, containers, bogies and wagons, had filed for bankruptcy and went into liquidation in 2010. Though the company had been facing tough times following the increasing cost of production as also growing competition, the eurozone crisis in 2007 finally derailed its train journey.    The French subsidiary has successfully been turned around in the last couple of years even as its turnover has witnessed a phenomenal jump to around € 40 million in 2014 from just € 2 million (annualised) in 2010. The unit, with the capacity to produce 2,000 wagons/annum, is located over an area of 42 acres at Douai in northern France, considered a hub for Europe’s railway industry. In fact, it is a part of Lille’s I-Trans rail cluster which also hosts players like Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens.   “For us, afr stood out because it was an excellent facility with good equipment and skilled labour,” says Umesh Choudhary, managing director, twl . “Its location in the north of France was also desirable as the region was famous for its rail technology, especially design capabilities. And the region offers true potential in terms of recruitment thanks to excellent training programmes in sustainable transportation.”   “Our experience of working with France has been fruitful,” adds Sunil Kanojia, group ceo, Sintex Industries Ltd. “We also have a plant in the northern part. The working team, the leadership and the administration, all have been supportive and committed.” Sintex acquired a French company, Nief Plastics, in 2007 for € 31 million. The company has five plants in France and a topline of € 220 million. It has been supplying composites to Thryssenkrupp, Areva, Alstom and Renault, among others.   “Over the years, our cluster approach has worked quite well in transforming this northern region into a major investment destination – not only in France but in the whole of Europe,” says Omar Layachi, project manager, Nord France Invest. “With an ecosystem conducive to doing business, more than 1,500 foreign-owned companies are already doing business here.” Nord France Invest, the investment promotion agency for Lille, is responsible for promoting this region, and providing a suitable atmosphere for industries has been instrumental in putting the region on the investment map of France. The region has emerged as the third largest location in terms of fdi with a presence of 1,300 businesses and employing 100,000  people across diverse industries.   While the ict cluster Euratechnologies has emerged as the largest incubator, other clusters in related sectors are not far behind. In fact, the region is a hotspot for multimedia talent, cultivating expertise in video games, animation and mobile apps. It is also France’s number one cluster for digital arts training. Lille hosts global names like Ankama, Adictiz, Bigben Interactive and Hydravision. With world-class institutes/schools (Rubika group, formerly Supinfogroup), the region also develops talent.   All said and done, Lille is using its economic past to carve out a place in the future. A case in point is the former coal pit at Arenberg near Valenciennes. Opened by Compagnie des Mines d’Anzin in 1899, the pit quickly became the company’s most productive site, with nearly 32 million tonnes of coal extracted over the years. Prosperity ensued, followed by decline, crisis and closure in 1989.    But the site then resurfaced as a popular film set for directors, who incorporated its striking interiors and exteriors into their shoots, paving the way for a new future in image and sound. Arenberg is undergoing a radical shift from abandoned coal pit to center of excellence for research in cinema and digital technology with an objective to serve the film and tv industry of tomorrow by designing, developing and deploying techniques and tools. ARBIND GUPTA Business India   feedback@businessindiagroup.com  

French plastics companies showcasing their expertise at the PLASTINDIA trade show (February 5th to 10th, 2015 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat)

Thomas Ilhe - 28-janv.-2015 05:15:16
Business France, the French Agency for International Business Development, in partnership with the Plastipolis innovation cluster, is organising a French pavilion at the PLASTINDIA trade show to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from February 5th to 10th, 2015. This major event in the plastics sector is eagerly anticipated by French experts as it takes place once every 3 years only. The Indian market is of particular interest to stakeholders all over the world because of its significant potential for development. It is estimated that the plastics industry will grow by over 50% by 2015. Plastic consumption per person and per year in India remains well below the global average (9.7 kg versus 26 kg). This results in an increased demand for high-quality, high-technology equipment. The French plastics industry is 2nd in Europe in terms of sales and 5th worldwide. The 5 companies present in the French pavilion represent different sectors of the industry. Attracted by the Indian markets high growth rate, they will present their technologies and expertise to authorities in order to establish or strengthen business contacts. Come and meet them in hall n°. 11.     An expert in waste recovery and recycling, GAVAND assists plastics companies to fulfil their legal obligations regarding waste recovery. Its operations include the collection, storage, crushing and regeneration of plastics. www.gavand.fr - booth 11-C22         Since 1988 the trading company PLASTDECOR has specialised in second-hand equipment for plastic transformation: injection presses, blowers, extruders, peripherals and moulds by major brands. www.plastdecor.com - booth 11-C19         One of the world leaders in manufacturing moulds, PLASTISUD is a specialist in the production of moulds that combine high precision and high performance. More than 4,000 of its moulds are in use worldwide. Fields of application: Closures (40%), Packaging (30%), Medical (30%)   www.plastisud.com - booth 11-C22         PROVENCALE SA is Europes number 2 producer and distributor of calcium and other industrial minerals. Fields of application: paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants, cements for civil engineering, plastics, food, paper, agriculture, decoration. www.provencale.com - booth 11-D19           For more than 30 years , SPOOLEX – DECOUP + has been successfully designing and manufacturing standard and custom solutions for continuous ultrasonic cutting and welding of textiles, non-wovens, PP fabrics and plastic films. More than 5,000 of its machines are in operation worldwide. www.decoup.com - booth 11-C20       About the French Trade Commission Business France in India http://www.businessfrance.fr/ Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France. It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and also runs the VIE international internship program. The French Trade Commission in India has 4 offices located in the business hubs of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, with a total dedicated multicultural team of over 30 experts. Founded on January 1, 2015 through a merger between UBIFRANCE and the Invest in France Agency, Business France has 1,500 personnel, both in France and in 70 countries throughout the world, who work with a network of public and private-sector partners. For more information:   Business France Pascal GALLI Industry/Plastics Technology, Technical Textiles, Composite Materials Project Manager Phone: +33 (0)1 40 73 35 53 E-mail: pascal.galli@businessfrance.fr

Feedback - Delegation of indian food retailers went to France

Julien Compain - 26-sept.-2011 13:22:00
  From September 5th to 8th, a delegation of Food retailers, such as Future Group, Spencer’s and Nature’s Basket, and importers from India was invited to France by the French Trade Commission , on behalf of French Associations for the Promotion of Agro-food Products from the regions of Aquitaine (AAPrA: http://gastronomie.aquitaine.fr/english/our-assignments ) and Rhone-Alpes (R3AP: www.r3ap.com ).   During these four days visit, the delegation, accompanied by Mr. Jérome DESQUIENS, Head of Agrofood Department ( Jerome.desquiens@ubifrance.fr ), had the opportunity to taste the regional products of the Aquitaine and Rhone Alpes regions and to meet with about 20 potential French suppliers targeting the Indian market.   Some negotiations are already going on between Indian importers and French manufacturers in order to find soon some of the displayed products in Indian retail for the first time.

Feedback for ART DE VIVRE A LA FRANCAISE

Julien Compain - 04-août-2011 11:58:57
  Ubifrance -French Trade Commission in India organised, for the first time in India , Art de Vivre à la Française, a prestigious French Lifestyle Show from 14th to 16th July 2011 at Taj Palace Hotel New Delhi .  The inaugural party took place on th 13th July but the official inauguration was cancelled due to sad events on the same evening at Mumbai. High profile celebrities and politicians like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Farooq Abdullah, and Mani Shankar Aiyar among others though graced this occasion. 19 exhibitors representing 22 brands exhibited their products during the event.  During the three day event, there were 550 visitors of which 250 professionals (architects, interior decorators, luxury hotels, distributors…). The French companies were very satisfied – this event gave them an opportunity to understand the Indian market and realise its great potential. The following French companies, world renowned in the field of home décor, tableware, jewellery and other lifestyle related products, participated in this event: Andre Verdier/Delarboulas  ( www.andre-verdier.fr/www.delarboulas.com ) Ateliers Philippe Coudray ( www.ateliersphilippecoudray.com ) Bleu Nature ( www.bleunature.com ) Chevillotte ( www.chevillotte.com ) Collection Pierre/Ensemble London ( www.collectionpierre.com/www.ensemblelondon.com ) Ercuis/Raynaud ( www.raynaud.fr/www.ercuis.com ) Grange ( www.grange-home.com ) Henryot & CIE ( www.henryot-cie.fr ) Jaune de Crome/JL Coquet ( www.jlcoquet.com )  Le Creuset ( www.lecreuset.com ) Neology ( www.neology.tm.fr ) Poiray Joaillers ( www.poiray.com ) Sabina Fay Braxton ( www.sabinafaybraxton.com ) Serdaneli International ( www.serdaneli.fr ) ST Dupont ( www.st-dupont.com ) Tisserant Art & Style ( www.tisserant.fr ) Ulgador ( www.ulgador.com ) Volevatch ( www.volevatch.fr )  Verrerie de la Marne ( www.verreriedelamarne.fr )                                              
About
Sophie Clavelier, Country Head   Welcome to the French Trade Commission Business France in India!     Our key mission is to promote trade relations between France and India. We assist French- based companies seeking potential partners and new markets in India, while helping Indian businesses to identify potential French suppliers, commercial and technical partners.   In India, our 4 offices are located in business hubs, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. We have a dedicated multicultural team of 38 experts in the following growing sectors: Agrofood Industry Industry and Cleantech Lifestyle and Healthcare Tech & Services Our Trade Commission also has a Press office in charge of helping French companies to communicate in India as well as a Market Access Department enabling them to better understand and adjust to the Indian regulatory and fiscal framework. In

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