Maharashtra is undoubtedly one of the major states in India, known for its massive size, economy, deep rooted history and culture. Home to some of the most finest specimen of arts, crafts, industry acumen and culture, Maharashtra is that one state you simply cannot miss to travel to. Let's explore this city in a better way:
History of Maharashtra
Maharashtra has a history of settlement from pre-historic times and though the current citizens of Maharashtra look to only the past three hundred years to talk about their glorious history, the fact remains that the history of this region dates back to several millennia before the current era.
Early Settlements in Maharashtra
The earliest evidence of habitation in Maharashtra dates back to at least 90,000 years ago. Stone tools found near Palashet in Ratnagiri district seem to suggest that the users of these tools must have been travelers who came from elsewhere and settled here as the tools are made from stones that are not locally available. The stone age site in Maharashtra represents the earliest settlement along India’s coastline. Later Paleolithic sites have also been found in Chandoli, Koregaon and Shikarapur confirming the presence of the human colonies.
The Chalcolithic age was the age when humans first began to use metals. One such instance seems to be the Jorwe culture, which existed in Maharashtra from 1500 BCE to 900 BCE – a span of seven hundred years. The Jorwe cultures used painted pottery and probably presented the earliest instance of the use of the lota and the thali in Maharashtra. The Jorwe culture was an advanced culture and represented a hierarchy of settlements ranging from small farmsteads and hamlets housing as little as 50 to 100 people to large settlements extending for over 30 hectares as seen in Daimabad near the Pravara River in Ahmednagar district could house over 6000 people.
The stones used by the Jorwe tribe on display in Mahrashtra / source
There are artifacts belonging to the late Harappa period found at other sites in Maharashtra too mainly at Prakash near Dhule. Bronze artifacts belonging to this period have been discovered suggesting that there was an advance in metallurgical techniques too, in addition to agricultural progress. Famous sites indicating significant settlements in Maharashtra during the Chalcolithic and late Harappa periods can be found at Imamgaon, Nashik, Jorwe, and Nevasa.
Kingdoms Which Ruled Maharashtra
Satvahana Rule There are many accounts of the Satvahana empire, which lasted for over 450 years from 220 BCE to 230 CE (or AD). The capital of this great empire is variously described as being based at Amravati and Pratishthana (present day Paithan) in Maharashtra or Junnar (again in Maharashtra). This may be due to different kings moving their capitals or division of the kingdom’s governance among the sons of the royal family. Indeed there are record of Vedishri, son of the Satvahana king Satkarni, moving his capital to Junnar.
The Satvahana were great architects and deeply devoted to arts, here's a sample of their coins / source
The Satvahana era made a lasting impression on Maharashtra – an influence that continues even today. It was for the first time that the word Maharashtri came to be mentioned as the language of the people in their domains. The Satvahana kings’ most important contribution is the encouragement they gave to the development of the local languages (The Prakrit languages). Maharashtri Prakrit developed into a major language among all the Prakrits. This together with Jain Maharashtri has been seen as the originator of the Marathi language.
The other significant contribution made by the Satvahana era was the introduction of the Satvahana or the Saka calendar. The Saka era commemorates Satkarni Gautamputra’s ascension to the throne and starts in 78 CE (or AD). The coming of the New Year according to this calendar is celebrated as Gudi Padwa throughout Maharashtra. It is also the official calendar adopted by the Government of India alongside the Gregorian calendar and was also used by Javanese courts untl 1633. It has also influenced Nepal’s Sambat calendar.
Vakataka Rule The Vakatakas succeeded the Satvahanas and there is very little known about the founder of the dynasty, the king Vindhyasakti for it is only through the exploits of his son Pravarsena the hat we first come to know about the expansion of the Vakataka Empire.
The Vakatakas were Buddhist kings and nonetheless ruled the region for over 200 years starting from 250 CE and they extended the patronage of the arts and the building of temples and monasteries. The Ajanata caves were completed during the Vakataka rule nd there is mention of the patronage extended by Harisena for the construction of these caves. The Vakataka Era was an era of prosperity n the region and this reportedly led to the spread of vices and treachery, which ultimately led to their downfall. The Vakatakas ruled Maharashtra till 470 CE
Chalukya Rule The void created by the fall of the Vakataka Empire was filled in by the Chalukyas who came from the South and expanded their territory to include the regions of Maharashtra. The Chalukyas ruled from the beginning of the 6th century CE and were contemporaries of the Gupta Empire. The most famous ruler was Pulakesin II who was the rival of the great Harshavardhana.
The Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur was built during the Chalukyan era / source
The Chalukyas were from Karnataka and the Badami Chalukyas (who ruled from Vathapi, which is now called Badami and situated near Bagalkot, Karnataka) ruled over much of Maharashtra till the 8th century. While most temples built in Chalukya architecture pattern are to be found in North Karnataka, the most famous Goddess Mahalaxmi temple at Kolhapur in Maharashtra was established during Chalukya rule and through it was reconstructed and re-consecrated over a period of centuries, the influence of Chalukya architecture is unmistakable.
The Rashtrakuta Dynasty The Rashtrakutas took over the rule of the region from the Chalukyas and literally pushed them southwards. The Rashtrakuta rule was essentially established at Achlapur (Modern day Elichpur in Maharashtra) but later centered around Manyakheta in Gulbarga region of Karnataka. The Rashtrakuta era saw the birth of the Marathi language with the first Marathi inscription of 981 CE at Sravanbelagola dating to the Rashtrakuta period.
The Rashtrakuta kings were Hindus but influenced by Jainism in later generations. The most important Rashtrakuta monument n Maharashtra is undoubtedly Ellora caves complex with the rock cut Kailasa temple carved out of a single rock being one of the most admired monuments in the world.
The Elephanta caves at Gharapuri near Mumbai are also attributed to the Rashtrakuta rule though some historians claim that the Konkan Mauryans or the Badami Chalukyas may have patronized their construction. The Rashtrakutas ruled till the 10th Century CE and it is presumed that the Rashtrakuta declined after the reign of Tailapa II whose reign lasted till 997 CE. Many Jain temples situated in forts built by Rashtrakutas still exist in Maharashtra and North Karnataka even today.
According to many historians the Elephanta Caves were made by the Rashtrakutas / source
Shilahara Dynasty The Shilahara family was a feudatory of the Rashtrakuta dynasty but declared its independence once the decline of the Rashtrakutas started. The Chalukyas proceeded to march against the Shilahara dynasty but they held on long enough breaking into the North and the South Konkan branches nd influenced the region for a long time. The Shilahara kings of the North Konkan constructed the caves and monuments at Chaul and also issued coins and collected taxes. The Shilahara dominance extended up to South Konkan, Goa, and Kolhapur. The Rashtrakuta Empire was succeeded by resurgence in the Chalukya dynasty once again and the Deccan saw many conflicts between the Chalukya and the Chola armies for control over the region. The 11th and the 12th centuries are replete with many instances of this struggle for dominance.
The Yadavas of Deogiri They arose initially as representatives of the Chalukyas but established their own kingdom. They popularized Marathi and gave it the status that it has today. Their rule united Maharashtra and gave Marathi a unique identity. They were also great patrons of art and the Hemadpanti style of architecture (named after Hemadpant – a minister in the Yadava court) became a hallmark of the Yadava rule. The presence of these temples all over Maharashtra indicates the unification and uniformity that the Yadavas brought to the region. Hemadpant is also credited with the introduction of the Modi script for writing Marathi. This made Marathi an easy language for business and political documentation.
The Yadavas established their capital at Deogiri and dominated Maharashtra for two hundred years ushering an era of stability and prosperity. It also saw the composition of great works in Marathi principally the Danyaneshwari, the Viveksindhu and the Lilacharitra were composed during this period.
Relentless onslaught from the North of India particularly by Muslim invaders broke the back of the Yadava Empire. Though the Yadava rulers repelled earlier Turkic invasions, they were suppressed by Allauddiin Khilji and had to become a tributary state of the Khilji Sultanate. Subsequent revolts were unsuccessful and the kingdom was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate of Khilji in 1317.
Sultanates of Maharashtra The Khilji dynasty in Delhi was defeated by Ghiasuddin Tughlaq and when his son Mohammad Bin Tughlaq succeeded him in 1325, he decided to shift the capital to Deogiri two years later. Citizens of Delhi were given very few days notice to shift their possessions and move to Deogiri, which was now called Daulatabad. Thus Daulatabad, for a short period of two years became the capital of India!
Mohammad Bin Tughlaq, was by all accounts an eccentric ruler who shifted his capital back to Delhi within two years due to lack of abundant water at Daulatabad. His provincial governors soon revolted against him and he spent the rest of his years fighting enemies and suppressing revolts.
The provinces of the Delhi Sultanate in the South were taken over by Alauddin Bahman Shah who revolted against the Tughplaq dynasty and established the Bahmani Sultanate in 1347 when Tughlaq was still around but too pre-occupied and weak to be able to hold on to his territory. The Bahmani Sultanate flourished for 142 years from 1347 to 1489 and though it technically remained an entity till 1527, it had no power by the time the last Sultan who wielded power Mahmood Shah Bahmani II died in 1518. By then the Sultanate had broken into various Sultanates namely the Adilshahi of Bijapur (established 1489), the Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar (1491), The Mulkshahi of Berar (1492) and the Qutubshahi of Golconda (1512). The Sultans remained at Bidar but were mere puppets in the hands of the Prime Minister Amir Barid. The Barid dynasty eventually took over the Sultanate.
Berar and Bidar were swallowed by the Nizamshahi and the Adilshahi respectively. So the entire region of Maharashtra was carved out chiefly between these three Sultanates. Maratha officers rose to rank in the armies of these Sultanates and often crossed sides and sought employment in rival factions for better perks.
The economic situation during those times was not good and foreign travelers such as Afanasey Nikitin noted the disparity between the great riches of the nobles and the extreme poverty of the local populace. The times were difficult but Marathi and the Bhakti Movement helped to unify the region. Numerous saint poets welded considerable influence over the population urging them to find virtue in living a simple life even in times of hardship and strife.
Apart from fighting each other, the Sultanates also faced threat from the Mughals to the North and the onslaught of Portuguese along the Western coast and the Vijaynagara Empire to the East. Plus there was a growing power centre that they had not anticipated.
The Maratha Empire In 1645 in the small temple of Raireshwar near Pune, a band of boys led by the 16 year old son of the Maratha Sardar Shahaji Raje Bhonsale, took a vow to establish “Swaraj” or self rule. This 16 year old lad and his band of boys tasted their first success when they captured Torana fort. They then captured the nearby forts of Kondana and Rajgad and the keeper of Purandar fort pledged his alliance. The lad was Shivaji who consolidated his successes to wreak repeated havoc on the Adilshahi of Bijapur through his improvised guerrilla warfare and his shrewd negotiation tactics. Though Shivaji’s campaign broke the back of the Adilshahi, he could not withstand the superior Mughal vassal Mirza Raja Jaisingh and pledged allegiance to the Mughal crown.
However at the Mughal court of Agra he was apprehended and put under house arrest probably due to a confrontation caused due to lower rank and file conferred upon him. He fled house arrest soon after and continued his opposition to the Mughal rule. Shivaji captured major chunks of the Adilshahi Sultanate. He signed a friendship treaty with the Qutub Shahi Sultanate and proceeded to attack Surat in the north and Vellore and Jinji to the south.
By this time Shivaj had gained reverential status among the common people of Maharashtra who saw in him the savior from oppression. Shivaji therefore carved out his own empire and crowned himself king in 1674. He assumed the title “Chhatrapati” and was to rule for another 6 years. His successors would use the same title and it would eventually become the icon for Marathi pride. He laid the foundation of the Maratha rule over Maharashtra and most of India. Ting power also included winning the hearts of the people through a tolerant attitude, willingness to come down to the common man’s level, and the special skills in bringing warring factions together. His ability to make people die for him was the turning point in Maharashtra’s history and he is still the rallying point for addressing many political issues.
Under Shivaji’s rule, Maharashtra prospered and his great efforts at consolidating power and unifying the region paved the way for creation of the Marathi identity that is still relevant today. The region acquired a sense of pride and unity and everybody contributed to the development as well as the war effort. Shivaji’s daring, political acumen, military strategy, and understanding of the common people’s problems made him a role model for every generation and to every social cause in Maharashtra, and he is the state’s icon for unity, ambition, and political change. Even today, almost 350 years later he remains the sole icon representing the aspirations of every citizen of Maharashtra.
Shvaji’s son Sambhaji took over the throne after the death of Shivaji in 1680 and for a period of 9 years he was constantly fighting off revolts or invasions. He was succeeded by his brother Rajaram who had to shift to the Maratha held territory of Jinji and rule is territory from there. In 1700, Chhatrapati Rajaram died at Sinhagad and his son, Shivaji II was crowned Chhatrapati at the age of 4. The queen mother, Tarabai assumed the role of the regent and steered the Maratha Empire in those difficult times. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died a tired man in 1707 and it was only after his death that Sambhaji’s son, Shahu was released by the Mughals.
Balaji Vishwanath, his son Bajirao, and his son Balaj Bajirao (Nanasaheb Peshwa) were great leaders who built the pillars of the Maratha Confederacy to prosper and thrive. The Mughal Empire would now pay statutory respects to the Maratha Confederacy which rose to rule almost all over the country.
The Maharashtra region prospered and the Marathi people spread to Central and North India as well as South India. Marathi performing arts prospered too and there was a great cultural upheaval n the region. Major Maratha centers sprung up in Gwalior (Scindias), Indore (Holkars) and Vadodara (Gaikwads) and the influence of Marathi language and culture is still evident in these regions even today.
The invasion of Punjab by the Maratha forces led to a unified campaign by the Afghan chieftains Najib Khan of Rohilla and Ahmed Shah Duranni (Abdally), which led to the third battle of Panipat in 1761. Though the battle was won by Ahmed Shah and his forces, there were heavy casualties on both sides and the battle ended with no decisive gains for either side. It took 10 years for the Marathas to reconsolidate their hold over North India again but they could never recover fully from the Panipat debacle and the subsequent gains were lost after Peshwa Madhavrao’s death. The Maratha Confederacy failed to stay united in their conflicts with the British and after the Third Anglo Maratha war, the Maratha Confederacy broke up into small princely states each owing allegiance to the British.
British Rule in Maharashtra
Under British rule, a major part of Maratha Confederacy territory came to be organized as the Bombay Presidency, while another large portion was administered as Central Provinces and Berar. The Marathwada region went under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Gwalior, Indore, Baroda, and smaller princely states such as Kolhapur, Satara, Murud Janjira, Jawhar remained largely as titular protectorates.
An artist's version of the early British soldiers / source
The region underwent a major change with many cities emerging as centers of learning and liberal thought. After the battle for Indian Independence of 1857 ended, the East India Company’s control was transferred directly to the British Empire and this lead to significant improvement in communications and civil development.
The seven islands of Bombay, which was Portuguese territory, were soon combined to form one large city that is growing even today. Trade was facilitated by the building of roads and telegraph services. The first railway line in India was established from Bombay to Thane and the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIP) was formed. This was supplemented by the establishment of the Bombay Baroda and Central India (BB and CI) line. These lines are still functioning as the Central Railway and the Western Railway respectively.
Universities were established all over the region and emphasis on regional languages was encouraged. There was a flowering of Marathi presses and this not only led to development in literature, it also gave birth to an aggressive social reform movement. Women’s education and upliftment, fighting caste discrimination, campaigning against superstition and obsolete unscientific practices – all these movements took birth in Maharashtra. Savitribai Phule (the founder of the first girls school), Pandita Ramabai (crusader against child marriage) and Anandibai Joshi (The first Indian woman to become a qualified physician) - were all from this region.
There were also revolutionary movements against the British Rule starting with India’s first revolutionary Vasudev Balwant Phadke. The revolutionary tradition was kept alive by the Chaphekar brothers and Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Political reform organizations such as the Satya Shodhak Samaj founded by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, The Servants of India Society founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, The Prarthana Samaj founded by M.G Ranade, The Home Rule Movement founded by Dr. Annie Besant, were all established in this region. Freedom fighters from Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Acharya Vinoba Bhave were all from this region. Bombay also saw the birth of the Indian National Congress was established in this region and so was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Quit India movement was launched (in Bombay) and so was the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement (in Pune).
The Samyukta Maharashtra Movement
After Independence, there was an attempt to reorganize Indian States along linguistic lines. However there was no mention for a separate state for Marathi speaking people. A single state was proposed with its capital in Bombay (now Mumbai) and would consist of Gujarati and Marathi speaking areas of the erstwhile Bombay presidency with a few exceptions; Belgaum and Karwar areas would be merged with the Mysore state to form a state for Kannada speaking people. Plus a separate Vidarbha state would be carved out of Central Provinces and Berar. There was no plan for other Marathi speaking areas to be included and that too all into a single state.
This caused displeasure in general and sparked off the call for the revival of “Maharashtra” – the historical entity that had been the homeland for the Marathi speaking people. Cutting across parties and ideologies the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement was born. Many eminent personalities staked everything they had for a separate state for the Marathi speaking people. Demonstrations were held everywhere and police opened fire on demonstrators. It is estimated that over 105 people agitating for Maharashtra died from police firing in separate incidents. The uproar had its telling effect and the state of Maharashtra was created on 1st May 1960.
History of the New Maharashtra
In the 54 years of its existence Maharashtra has seen many ups and downs but has remained at the top of all Indian states when it comes to industrialization and infrastructure development. But the state has had its share of political issues and problems. Communalism, trade unionism, farmers’ suicides and corruption have plagued the state in its short history. However the state has continued to achieve laurels in sports, literature, performing arts and urbanization.
Economy of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is the largest contributor to India’s economy. It makes up for over 40% of the govt. of India’s revenue6. Maharashtra’s per capita income grew to Rs. 107670 in 2012-13 as the state experienced a 12.9% growth (one of the highest in the country).
Maharashtra is also India’s highest tax payer contributing Rs 451,777 crores ($81.77 billion) to the Indian exchequer by way of taxes. Moreover Maharashtra in 2011 had a GDP of $224.120 billion and a per capita GDP of $1,818. In 2012 its GDP had grown to $233.89 billion4 making its economy almost on par with that of Pakistan ($232.76 billion), Ireland ($232.15 billion) and Kazakhstan ($231.88 billion) as per IMF projections5. Maharashtra’s economy constitutes 15% of India’s GDP making it India’s largest economy.
Maharashtra is the country’s most industrialized state and also attracts the foremost foreign direct investment (FDI) in India.
Ports in Maharashtra
Undoubtedly the first impetus to Maharashtra’s booming economy comes from the trade it generates and facilitates through its ports. Two of the biggest ports in India, whether in terms of traffic, capacity, offloading facilities or trade generated – The Mumbai port and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Nhava Sheva - are located in Maharashtra. The Front Bay and its extension into the Thane Creek together constitute the largest docking area shared by the two ports.
In addition these ports, Maharashtra has a 720 kilometres coastline that has 48 ports that are designed for various functions such as domestic terminals for transport of industrial goods, Fishing jetties, passenger wharfs, and trawler offloading piers. Of these 7 ports have been selected for further development and one of them (The Angre Port) has been commissioned and has started functioning at its current capacity of 16 million metric tonnes per year.
Together, all ports in Maharashtra are responsible for about seventy percent of the sea trade in the country. This has provided a tremendous boost to businesses on the mainland related to warehousing, import and export freight forwarding firms, insurance, and above all transportation of materials to and from the rest of the country. Owing to this Maharashtra has developed one of the most sophisticated transport infrastructures and is rightly called the core transport network of the country.
Transport Facilities in Maharashtra
Roadways Almost 98% of the state is covered by well developed roadways. There are 17 National Highways that originate or pass through Maharashtra covering a distance of over 5200 kilometres. Of these five important National Highways originate from the Mumbai Metropolitan region itself. Additionally around 280 state highways nearly covering a distance of 33,705 kilometres have been constructed.
The railways in Maharashtra has a railway network covering almost 6000 kilometres making it the largest railway network in the country. In terms of business, it is the largest contributor to railway revenue in the country. The Mumbai metropolitan region has a dense network of railways that comprise the publicly held Western, Central, and Harbour Lines and the privately held or jointly funded Metro One and Monorail Lines.
The airways in Maharashtra has an advanced air network consisting of four international airports and 19 domestic airports. More airports continue to be sanctioned, most importantly the third terminus in Mumbai for International traffic.
To know more about the entire transport facilities in the state, click here
Mumbai: Financial Nucleus of India
Nationalized and Public Banks Headquarters in Mumbai
Reserve Bank of India
Bank of India
Central Bank of India
Special Economic Zones in Mumbai Region
NMSEZ, Reliance, Navi Mumbai
Foreign Banks: 84% of foreign banks operating in India are headquartered in Mumbai.
Maharashtra’s economical power can be attributed mainly to the growth of Mumbai. Right from the 1850s, Mumbai has grown at an astonishing rate outpacing the growth of the rest of the country. It was an island that was fused with six other islands in the vicinity to form the city of Bombay. The urbanization spread to the neighboring eighth island of Salsette to become Greater Bombay. In the 1980s urbanization spread to the Raigad and Thane districts and the Mumbai Metropolitan region - a giant megacity was created. This consists of 8 municipal corporations, 9 municipal councils and is spread over 5 districts of Maharashtra state. It represents a development continuum that has fueled the economic growth of the entire country.
According to estimates Mumbai accounts for 33% of income tax collected, 60% of the customs duty assimilated and 20% of the central excise tax submitted in the country. Mumbai is a financial hub and houses the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange – two of the country’s foremost trading bourses in the country accounting for more than two thirds of the stock traded in the country. Almost 90% of mutual funds are also bought and sold in Mumbai.
In the ease of starting a business Mumbai can be compared to South Africa according to a World Bank report16. Apart from a large number of Venture Capital firms, the city also has a strong banking and non-banking finance conglomeration17 that has made Mumbai a lucrative location for people who are looking to start their own business.
Mumbai: Financial Fact File
30% of FDI in Maharashtra is invested in Mumbai
Primary Finance: During 2011-Dec2012 Rs. 8798 Crores raised through 27 public and 9 rights issues.
Secondary Market: Stock Exchanges in Mumbai account for 92% of total capitalization in India’s corporate markets
Accounts for 14% of total deposits and 21% of total credit dispensed by scheduled commercial banks in India
Accounts for 36% (by number) and 60% (by value) of all cheque clearances in India.
Mumbai Business Fact File
Major Business Promotion Organizations
All India Manufacturers' Organization
Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Confederation of Indian Industry
Federation of Indian Export Organizations
Indian Merchants' Chamber
The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India
India-China Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Stock Exchanges in Maharashtra
BSE - The Stock Exchange, Mumbai
NSE National Stock Exchange
OTCEI – Over The Counter Exchange of India
SEBI -The Securities & Exchange Board of India
Main corporate offices of top investment Banks in India are in Mumbai:
Bank of America
Credit Suisse A. G.
Kotak Investment Banking
Impetus to Industrial Growth
The massive infrastructural facilities and the encouragement given to industrialization have made Maharashtra the most industrialized state in the country - a position that it has held for decades. This has been the result of detailed study of changing markets, strategic positioning to attract emerging sectors, and fast tracking of proposals have all propelled growth, attracted investment, proliferated industrialization and created employment.
The new industrial policy was formulated in 1993 and revised regularly in 1995, 2001, 2006 and in 2013 and as a result industrial proposals amounting to Rs. 9.5 lakh crores were approved during this period creating 1250000 jobs.
Maharashtra: Industrialization Fact File
Most Industrialized state in the country
Executes 18% of all Industrial Proposals in the country
Attracts 10% of all industrial investment in India
Employs 20% of industrial workforce in India
Attracts 32% of all foreign direct investment flowing into the country
Total FDI flow into Maharashtra in last decade amounted to US$61 billion
Major Exports – Gems /Jewellery, software, textiles and garments, cotton yarn, metal products, agriculture based products, engineering goods, pharmaceuticals, plastic goods.
Major FDI Inflows – information technology, financial services, Tourism, business management consultancy, transport, cement and ceramics, fuels and power, chemicals and fertilizers, electrical and electronics, paper and paper pulp.
Did You Know? Maharashtra has regional preferences for a particular produce and therefore we find that Nagpur is known as the orange city of India, the Nashik Sangamner belt is known for its grapes production and the Konkan region is famous for its mango, coconut, and cashew nut production. Western Maharashtra is known for sugarcane production, while the Vidarbha region is famous for cotton cultivation.
Media and entertainment Industry: Bulwark of Maharashtra’s Identity
No other state in India or even internationally has such a diverse media industry. Marathi, Hindi, English, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Urdu and Sindhi media have a major presence in the state be it newspapers, TV channels, movies, or other electronic and digital products and services.
The most prolific symbol of the media industry is undoubtedly Bollywood. Total box office earnings from Bollywood film releases rose to Rs. 2942 crores in 201325. The films earn additional revenue through overseas release, sale of music and satellite rights, and digital releases. The film industry export revenues were expected to cross US $ 5.7 billion28. The industry provides employment to at least 175000 people.
Marathi film industry producing films in the official language of Maharashtra – has also boomed with many films crossing Rs.25 crores each in box office collections in recent years26. The industry has grown to deliver more hits and therefore producers are flocking to it due to its high return on investment.
Additionally the state also produces feature films in other languages such as Gujarati, Konkani, Bhojpuri, and Sindhi. The TV industry has proliferated in Maharashtra on an astronomical scale. Major national broadcasting houses that are based in Maharashtra are Times TV, Star, CNN-IBN, and Zee. The state provides excellent infrastructure facilities for film as well as digital production. There are several media studios and production centers in Mumbai metropolitan region and in Pune and Kolhapur.
The print media is also booming in Maharashtra with newspapers and periodicals in almost every Indian language being published here. Every publication enjoys wide coverage and success. Due to the huge media presence, the advertising industry has also grown. Major advertising houses have their presence in Maharashtra to cater to the vast media and online needs of industry.
Information Technology in Maharashtra
Maharashtra pioneered the IT boom in the country and is still the largest consumer of Internet services in India accounting for almost 19% of the market share. Maharashtra is the second largest software exporter in India and accounts for 28% of India’s software exports.
The government has come up with several lucrative policies and incentives for IT and ITES companies to encourage them to set up shop and operate from Maharashtra.
Social Development Sector
A large number of social development initiatives have placed Maharashtra at the forefront in the social sector. The major thrust has come about due to the boost to privatization in social development sector and the entry of foreign as well as Indian equity investment in social development enterprises has helped immensely in helping citizens make the most of high class infrastructural facilities.
Energy Apart from transport, discussed earlier, the other major investments have been in the energy and healthcare sections. Maharashtra has the highest energy consumption in India accounting for 13% of the electricity generation capacity of the country. But it is also the largest power generating state and therefore is also responsible for supplying to the power grid for Western India.
Maharashtra has expanded by leaps and bounds, which means that the government as well as private agencies have benefited from the housing boom. The government itself has two bodies especially devoted to housing and civil infrastructure projects. They are the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the City and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (CIDCO). In 2012-13 alone, MHADA constructed 512 plots at an expense of Rs. 2364 crores. This was way higher than the Rs. 929 crores it spent in the previous year for constructing 794 plots. This goes to show that the value of land has also increased and added to the growth of the housing industry.
Additionally CIDCO has since 1970 created 1, 78,128 tenements at a total expenditure of Rs. 1745 crores. Various other schemes for increasing housing for the urban population have also been implemented. These are covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Under the aegis of this program, the govt. has implemented the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) program scheme under which 1, 40736 dwelling units have been targeted for construction at the cost of Rs.5838 crores. The Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP) is also spending Rs.2559 crores for constructing another 109612 housing units. Since 1998 up to 2012, the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS) has spent Rs.453 crores towards construction of 10673 tenements.
Other massive projects have also been taken up in the housing sector by the government. Notable among these are the Indira Awas Yojana that aims to provide housing for the rural poor; The Rajiv Gandhi Gram Niwaran Yojana and the Beedi Kamgar Gharkul Yojana.
Tourism Sector of Maharashtra
Maharashtra won the award for the best Indian state for business tourism in 201236. Maharashtra tourism industry captured an 18% market share of tourism investments in India37. Of these Rs. 6326 crores came in the form of foreign direct investment. Maharashtra attracts the highest number of foreign tourists in India. Around 5 million foreigners visit Maharashtra annually. It has the fifth largest number of domestic tourist visits in the country. Additionally the state and central governments have Rs.8549 crores to The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) for development of tourism n the state.
Textiles Production in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has one of the largest harvests of cotton in the country and is therefore a natural choice for being the textile industry hub of India. But textile industry had begun to decline following strikes in the 1980s and many textile mills gave way to shopping malls and residential complexes. But the state has lately seen a revival in the textile business and is back with a bang on the textile map of the country.
Cotton production in the state has now increased to 65 million kilograms making it account for a whopping 19% of India’s total cotton production. It also produces 272 million kilograms of cotton yarn which amounts to 12% of India’s output. There are a large number of skilled textile industry workers in the state and add to that a capacity of 1.66 million spindles, which adds up to 17% of India’s total capacity.
The government of Maharashtra has created textile parks to strengthen its production in the textile sector and occupy a lion’s share of the textile market.
The Textile Parks are established at:
- The Nardhana Textile Park at Dhule
- The Butibori Textile Park at Nagpur - The Textile Park at Ambernath
Many textile industry giants have their base in Maharashtra and are even expanding their production capacity. For example Raymond has increased its denim production capacity at its Yevatmal plant by 50% to 30 million metres38. Furthermore nine special economic zones specifically dedicated to textile and apparel industries are planned to be set up in the state. Furthermore a Greenfield textile project is being set up near Kolhapur at the cost of US $ 130 million.
Consistently the largest onion production in the country (47.63 metric tons produced in 2012-13)
Largest fruit producer in the country
Largest producer of grapes. pomegranates, guava, and oranges
2nd largest producer of banana and Sapota
90% of Indian wine manufacturers are in Maharashtra
6th largest livestock as well as poultry producer in India