The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one of the most enthusiastic and farsighted chambers of India providing thoughts and assistance to the business community in Kerala. The Chamber with 117 years of pedigree is always in the forefront to mitigate a dilemma, anticipates the needs of the posterity and equips its members to overcome challenges. The current President Nishesh Shah is the youngest of all Presidents of ICCI. In an exclusive interview with The Cochin Herald Mr. Shah deliberates on his future vision on ICCI.
You are the youngest President of one of the oldest Chambers of India, How do you feel?
Being the Youngest President of this august body, makes me realise that there is an immense responsibility placed on me and it is upto me to deliver the same. Also at the same time it dispels the myth that old chambers have old way of functioning. Our Chamber is modern and is always looking for better ways to progress and changing with the times.
With whom does the chamber partner?
Currently the chamber has 11 Affiliated Associations under its wings. We are catering to majorly all the trading communities in the region. ICCI partners with US Commercial Service (Department of Commerce) in hosting American Business Corner (a joint program with US Consulate, Chennai) ABC Offers opportunities to Indian importers in the city to learn about services and programmes and make connecting with American Business. We are in talks with a couple of other organisations in creating partnerships. In the long term we are looking at ways of partnering with various organisations to look at bringing value to our members.
If someone wants to start a new business, how can the ICCI assist?
With its wide range of members and experience in government matters, Chamber can provide strategic support in setting up a business in this region. We have a functional customs help desk. Chamber is at the fore for VAT related issues and we have been actively involved in creating awareness for FSSAI – the mandatory new certification for food Industries.
What are the benefits of ICCI membership?
As a member of ICCI your esteemed organization will get access to a world of opportunities. We act as a Platform for you in forming networks and partnerships with other major corporates in the region. As consultant body, we help you interact with State & Central Government and other statutory bodies. ICCI is a forum to meet the business, social, political leaders and foremost thinkers of the society. With ICCI’s close linkages with the government, which spawn at all levels we not only act as a voice for business community,but also as an enabler of policy making and development in the region. Apart from these we provide various services like:
- Provide assistance to set up business
- Issue of Certificate of Origin, Weight Certificates,
- Measurement Certificates etc.
- Certification of Export Documents
- Issue of Visa Recommendation letters
- Meetings, Seminars & Training Programmes
- Customs Help Centre
- E- Circulars/Notifications by Govt Bodies
- Daily Commodity Prices
- VAT Help Services
- FSSAI Help services
How does the ICCI accomplish its missions? What are its key missions?
The Key Mission of ICCI is to foster and promote business. It has remained unwavered since 1897. Thus Chamber acts as link for bringing to right people, unparalleled networking opportunities. ICCI is also involved in redressal of common problems of members at State, Central Govt. level provides a forum to meet and share best practices through constant interaction with all stakeholders including overseas delegations and Govt./Private thought leaders.
How does the ICCI contribute to the Economic Development of State?
ICCI is actively involved in all the developmental activities pertaining to the state and country as well as goodwill of the Business community. We are actively involved in the pre budget talks and proposals are sent forth which is duly given weightage by the government and corporation.
Please indicate the strategic relevance/ importance of your activities for the Industry?
Strategically, our chamber is one of the oldest chambers which were formed in India. We are primarily a body of traders who joined hands more than 100 yrs ago for well being of trade and community. Till date our activities focus on these aspects and we are successfully being able to bring changes and are being able to implement various things. We are the voice of Industry and community in Kochi and Kerala. Thus, our wishes are the echo of the wishes of our members. In short, we are an important representation of the society and collective choice of the business houses.
What was your biggest Success?
The fact that being more than 100 years old and being relevant and active, is the biggest sign of success. Lots of organizations are formed make a lot of noise and seem active, however to stay active and relevant for more than 100 years shows the true success and adaptiveness of this chamber.
What was your biggest Set-back?
Cannot think of any.
In what ways does the ICCI contribute to the Social Development of the environment in which it operates?
As mentioned above social development is a key component to the welfare of the business community. We at ICCI take this very seriously and the Chamber has been making significant contributions in the fields of education, health services and other social welfare projects, as well. The pivotal role played by the Chamber in the establishment of The Cochin College, the construction of a Children’s Ward in the Mattancherry Women & Children’s Hospital as well as Children’s Park at Koovapadam, donation of a Cobalt Unit to the Government Hospital at Ernakulam, and handsome donations to more than 100 educational & service institutions in and around the city provides ample proof of the active involvement of the Chamber in projects and programmes for the benefit of society at large. The latest in the series of such benefit of society at large is DISHA our Centenary year flagship project, a special school for children with special needs. We have quite a few more such projects lined up for future.