MCCIA is one of the few Chambers of Commerce in India which were established before independence, at a time when industrial activity in the country was yet to truly flourish. Here is a glimpse of the organisation which was instrumental in honing Pune's potential for enterprise and innovation.
The inception of MCCIA lay in recognising that Maharashtra's progress depended on the growth of business and industry. To this end, visionaries like A.R. Bhat, W.G. Kale, Dhananjayrao Gadgil, N.C. Kelkar, J.S. Karandikar, Dhondumama Sathe, Rambhau Abyankar, Shreedharpant Apte and B.V. Gharpure came together and established the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) on 16th March, 1934.
The driving spirit of this initiative was the Late Shri A.R. Bhat, who was propelled by the desire to see many more Maharashtrians take up entrepreneurship. It was his foresight and unwavering commitment to Pune's industrial growth that became the hallmark of MCCIA throughout the 86 years of its existence. MCCIA has always taken pride in being a Chamber for the Entrepreneurs, by the Entrepreneurs.
Pre-independence, the MCCIA founding fathers realised that to build a sound industrial base in the state, businesses needed credit to grow. This idea led to the inception of the Bank of Maharashtra in 1935, which then gave birth to a number of large industrial houses and facilitated the growth of many MSMEs across the state. Bank of Maharashtra has now grown to become one of the biggest public sector banks in the country and continues to enable growth for businesses across sectors. A few years later, in 1961, following heavy rains, the Panshet and Khadakwasla dams were breached, and the roaring floodwaters wreaked havoc on the city. In the aftermath of this disaster, MCCIA played a leading role in reviving Pune's business, trade and industry. The idea, then, was to use the donation amount collected as collateral for the banks to provide loans to businesses and industrial units in Pune that had been affected by the floods. Perhaps, MCCIA can therefore, rightfully claim credit for successfully conceptualising and implementing one of the first mutual credit guarantee schemes in the world.
Over the next few decades, MCCIA helped set up major industrial estates in the region like the International Convention Centre, Pavana Industrial Estate, Electronic Co-operative Estate and Hadapsar Industrial Estate with the aim of promoting industrialisation and economic development. This provided businesses with the infrastructural support they needed and also laid down the foundation for new businesses.
As the city's economy matured, there was a need for sector-specific facilities to support the research and development requirements of MSMEs. Given that the food processing industry in the country was on a rise, the National Agriculture and Analysis & Research Laboratory (NAFARI) was instituted to supplement the needs of the industries in this sector. This propelled Pune into becoming a major food processing hub in the country, which provided a substantial boost to the city's economy.
Considering that Pune houses the largest number of auto and auto component companies in the country, India's first Auto-Cluster was set up to provide MSMEs in the automobile industry the support they needed as the Indian automobile industry's importance to economic growth could not be overstated. In a similar fashion, owing to the growing Electronics manufacturing trend in the country, MCCIA recently embarked on a journey to set up one of India's largest brownfield clusters for fostering the growth of the Electronics Sector, the MCCIA Electronic Cluster Foundation (MECF).
Thus, MCCIA has always strived to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the industry and support the region’s socio-economic growth and prosperity. MCCIA believes that growth does not translate into development unless it is inclusive and takes into account all sections of society. In this regard, The Chamber set up Janwani in 2006, a Forum which addresses issues with the involvement of the Corporate Sector, the Government, NGOs and the Citizens to make Pune a more Liveable City.
More recently, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, MCCIA envisaged the need for a common platform to assess potential gaps in the demand and supply in the healthcare sector which treated Covid-19 patients in Pune. This led to the creation of PPCR (Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response), a need-based, time-bound, pro-bono activity. Over Rs 10 Crore was raised to supplement the steps being taken by the Government to contain the spread of the virus and to extend humanitarian assistance to those in need. This was not just a monetary initiative, the city's brightest minds collaborated to see it through.
Broadly, the Chamber has always functioned under three main pillars - Advocacy, Skill Building and Networking. Firstly, MCCIA has been championing the needs of the industry, on behalf of the industry. Secondly, owing to the intensified need for a skilled workforce, especially in the MSME segment, MCCIA has been conducting and promoting various capacity building initiatives to accelerate organisations towards a higher growth trajectory. Thirdly, MCCIA has always promoted an environment of collaboration by helping local MSMEs with key business networking, thereby enabling them to develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships.