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Post Excon January 2024

Post Excon January 2024

EXCON-2023 – Yet Another Stellar Edition

Held between 12th – 16th December 2023 at BIEC, Bengaluru, the 12th edition of EXCON 2023 hosted by CII, truly lived up to its theme of ‘Building India’s Tomorrow’, which encapsulated the essential pillars of Technology, Globalization, Sustainability, and Inclusivity. This poised platform once again brought together the who’s who of the industry and reaffirmed India’s leading position as a global destination for construction equipment manufacturing, writes PRERNA SHARMA.

Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from the government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. This was the setting tone

during the inauguration of the 12th edition of EXCON 2023. Delivering his inaugural address, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, said, “The construction sector will have a significant contribution to the Prime Minister’s vision to make India a carbon neutral economy. To achieve this goal, the government is embarking on major infrastructure and industrial projects that implement sustainable fuels. The construction sector in India currently ranks as the world’s third largest. Yet, by fostering collaborative endeavours among stakeholders, and corporations, and through substantial government support, we have the potential to propel it to the top spot within the next five years.”

“Construction and mining operations consume 400 crore litres of diesel, which is quite detrimental to the environment and the economy. By embracing alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, and hydrogen, the construction and mining sectors can effectively reduce emissions. Precast concrete emerges as a commendable substitute for traditional concrete. We advocate for industry collaboration to bolster the capabilities of construction through the use of sustainable materials and alternative fuels,” Gadkari added.

The Minister further highlighted substantial business prospects for the construction industry within the state, emphasizing significant opportunities arising from expansive infrastructure development initiatives. These encompass extensive projects encompassing roads, flyovers, industrial infrastructure, and power.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, in the inaugural session, said, “Currently, India’s construction equipment industry is exporting to over 140 countries. To enhance sustainability and efficiency, private players in the construction sector should focus on automation, the adoption of advanced technologies, global best practices, the use of alternative fuels, and innovations in utilizing waste materials as raw materials for construction projects. This approach aims to reduce both the cost of construction and the rate of pollution.”

The CII EXCON event witnessed a significant milestone with the ‘Women Building India – Equal Opportunity Awards,’ a platform dedicated to recognizing and promoting gender inclusivity in the construction industry. The awards ceremony brought together industry leaders, experts, and distinguished guests to address the imperative of empowering women in the sector.

The Chief Guest, R Dinesh, President, CII & Chairman, TVS Supply Chain Solutions Ltd. said, “Gender parity needs to be driven at leadership level. Companies not only need to become inclusive in hiring & recruitment but also impacting the ecosystem including taking steps in gender responsive procurement and creating inclusive supply and value chains”. Let’s redefine success beyond numbers and ensure that our collective growth is not just numerical but personal, with a keen focus on gender diversity, breaking barriers, and fostering an economy where women flourish as leaders, added Dinesh.

Kamal Bali, Chairman, CII Southern Region said, “The awards celebrate the strides made by women in real estate and construction, acknowledging their potential to address the skills gap and contribute to the industry’s advancement. CII remains committed to fostering inclusivity, as demonstrated by initiatives like the ‘Indian Women Network’ and the newly launched ‘CII Centre for Women Leadership,’ reflecting the industry’s collective dedication to creating a more diverse and equitable workforce.”

V G Sakthi Kumar, CMD, Schwing Stetter India Pvt Ltd, was recognized as the Committed Leader, embodying unwavering dedication to fostering gender diversity. Cummins India earned acclaim for fostering an Inclusive Workplace, a testament to their commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. Additionally, JCB’s innovative special initiative for the shopfloor garnered acknowledgment, showcasing their pioneering efforts in creating a more inclusive and dynamic work environment. These awards not only commend exemplary achievements but also serve as beacons inspiring further progress toward a more diverse and equitable construction industry.

At CII EXCON 2023, during the Session on ‘Exploring Opportunities in Defence & Border Roads Projects’, Border Roads Organization (BRO) shed light on its extensive contributions to infrastructure development and outlined future initiatives.

Lt Gen. Raghu Srinivasan, Director General of the Border Roads Organisation, remarked, “Through engaging with our industry partners, the BRO effectively conveyed its precise requirements for a model bridge, emphasizing the necessity for increased width, two lanes, and enhanced support for larger spans with a higher load classification. In response to these clearly defined needs, the industry has successfully delivered a model of the bridge that aligns with these specifications. The triumph of this collaborative endeavour underscores the indispensable role played by state-of-the-art construction equipment technologies in meeting the evolving requirements of organizations like the BRO. Advanced engineering and construction equipment, characterized by their adaptability and precision, not only facilitated the realization of the organization’s specific demands but also significantly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of the infrastructure development process.”

Lt. Gen Arvind Walia, Engineer -In- Chief, Military Engineering Services, Ministry of Defence said, “Joining hands with industry leaders marks a significant milestone in the tech-driven evolution of the construction industry. As we navigate the surge in technological innovations, construction equipment plays a crucial role in reshaping the world we live in. With a focus on defence infrastructure and an allocation of almost 3.3% of our GDP, approximately 125 billion US dollars, we are poised to contribute to the nation’s growth and technological prowess. Today, we stand at the forefront of progress, ready to meet the evolving demands of a rapidly growing economy on the path to a 5 trillion GDP.”

At a separate CEO Roundtable 2023 on the theme, ‘Infrastructure Growth Story – Driving Sustained Demand’, convened prominent industry leaders for an in-depth conversation addressing the challenges and opportunities within India’s construction equipment sector. The discussions centered around the crucial role played by the Indian Construction Equipment (CE) industry in the nation’s infrastructure development.

The session delved into a range of subjects, highlighting sustainable development, a dedication to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, and the obstacles encountered by companies such as Reach International in supplying aerial work platforms for construction sites. Panel participants recognized the importance of private-sector funding to supplement government initiatives in infrastructure advancement. Noteworthy points encompassed the sector’s emphasis on digitalization, minimal Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), and the vital collaboration between industry and academia to tackle skill shortages in the operation of construction equipment.

Vivekanand Vanmeeganathan, President, ICEMA said, “In the context of sustainability, the industry acknowledges the crucial importance of ESG. Commitment to sustainable practices is not only for current operations but also for ensuring a sustainable future for the industry.”

Jaswinder Singh Bakshi, Chairman, Taskforce on User Industry EXCON 2023 said, “The government’s focus on infrastructure is evident in increasing budget outlays, with flagship initiatives like NIP, NLP, and GMP driving steady growth. Optimism is high due to a significant pipeline of projects, indicating sustained and growing demand for the next five years.”

CII EXCON 2023 highlighted a collective industry commitment to embrace sustainability, recognizing its significance not only for current operations but also for ensuring a resilient and eco-friendly future. As the dialogue unfolds, it becomes evident that the trajectory of India’s infrastructure sector holds promise, backed by determined efforts to address challenges and leverage opportunities for long-term growth.

While proposing the vote of thanks during the inaugural ceremony, Vivekanand Vanmeeganathan, President, Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association said, “With confidence, we anticipate that in the coming years, the industry will continue to draw upon his insights, striving to become not only the most sustainable but also the world’s topmost innovator.”

EXCON underscored a dedicated commitment to sustainable power solutions, showcasing cutting-edge exhibits of electric and hybrid machinery tailored for low emissions and optimal energy efficiency. Furthermore, the event served as a platform to spotlight the latest strides in artificial intelligence, IoT, and automation, actively contributing to the evolution of smart construction technologies and fostering a culture of innovation within the industry.

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