Founded in 1925, Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the leading and only National Chamber of Commerce operating from Kolkata, and one of the most pro-active and forward-looking Chambers in the country today. Its membership spans some of the most prominent and major industrial groups in India. ICC is the founder member of FICCI, the apex body of business and industry in India. ICC’s forte is its ability to anticipate the needs of the future, respond to challenges, and prepare the stakeholders in the economy to benefit from these changes and opportunities. Set up by a group of pioneering industrialists led by Mr G D Birla, the Indian Chamber of Commerce was closely associated with the Indian Freedom Movement, as the first organised voice of indigenous Indian Industry. Several of the distinguished industry leaders in India, such as Mr B M Birla, Sir Ardeshir Dalal, Sir Badridas Goenka, Mr S P Jain, Lala Karam Chand Thapar, Mr Russi Mody, Mr Ashok Jain, Mr.Sanjiv Goenka, have led the ICC as its President. Currently, Mr. Shrivardhan Goenka, Vice Chairman, Duncan Goenka Group is leading the Chamber as it's President.
ICC is the only Chamber from India to win the first prize in World Chambers Competition in Quebec, Canada.
ICC’s North-East Initiative has gained a new momentum and dynamism over the last few years, and the Chamber has been hugely successful in spreading awareness about the great economic potential of the North-East at national and international levels. Trade & Investment shows on North-East in countries like Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have created new vistas of economic co-operation between the North-East of India and South-East Asia. ICC has a special focus upon India’s trade & commerce relations with South & South-East Asian nations, in sync with India’s ‘Look East’ Policy, and has played a key role in building synergies between India and her Asian neighbours like Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Bhutan through Trade & Business Delegation Exchanges, and large Investment Summits.
ICC also has a very strong focus upon Economic Research & Policy issues - it regularly undertakes Macro-economic Surveys/Studies, prepares State Investment Climate Reports and Sector Reports, provides necessary Policy Inputs & Budget Recommendations to Governments at State & Central levels.
The Indian Chamber of Commerce headquartered in Kolkata, over the last few years has truly emerged as a national Chamber of repute, with full-fledged State Offices in New Delhi, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Ranchi functioning efficiently, and building meaningful synergies among Industry and Government by addressing strategic issues of national significance.
ICC’s flagship Annual Conferences include the North-East Business Summit, India Energy Summit, Convergence India Leadership Summit, Agro Protech, ICC Insurance Summit, ICC Mutual Fund Summit, to name a few. These Summits take place all across India and abroad, and address key strategic issues.
Brief about ICC
The Indian Chamber of Commerce, or ICC as it is popularly known, is the premier body of business and industry in Eastern and North-Eastern India. The membership of the Chamber comprises several of the largest corporate groups in the country, with business operations all over the country and abroad. Set up by a group of pioneering industrialists led by Mr G D Birla, the Indian Chamber was closely associated with the Indian Freedom Movement, as the first organised voice of indigenous Indian Industry. Several of the distinguished industry leaders in India, such as Mr B M Birla, Sir Ardeshir Dalal, Sir Badridas Goenka, Mr S P Jain, Lala Karamchand Thapar, Mr Russi Mody, Mr Ashok Jain, have led the ICC as its President.
One of the most pro-active Chambers in India, the ICC has been privileged to interact and host several of the esteemed Indian Presidents and Prime Ministers in the past. With over eighty years of service to the nation, the ICC retains the character of being the premier Chamber with senior Indian industry leaders forming the core of its Executive Committee or the Governing Board of the Chamber. Its enlightened leadership and membership has enabled the ICC to move ahead and respond pro-actively to the dynamic changes that have taken place in the world order and with a vision for the future.
The ICC constituents are mainly large manufacturing units with operations all over the country and abroad. A large number of corporate bodies of India form the backbone of the organization. Leading industrial promotion organizations, banks & financial institutions, as well as governmental organizations, are members of the ICC and lend a diversified membership base for the Chamber. This apart, the ICC Secretariat runs a number of important national level industry associations, as members, around the country. Some of the important Industry Associations are the Indian Foundry Association, the Foundry Cluster Development Association, the Indian Sugar Mills Association, the West Bengal Cold Chain & Cold Storage Owners Welfare Association, the Indian Chemical Merchants and Manufacturers Association, and the Gunny Trades Association. The ICC also derives its strength and sustenance from the representative national character of its constituents. Another distinguishing feature of the ICC is that industrialists & owners of leading corporate entities in India are themselves members and are responsible for charting out the policies of the organization. Indeed, the ICCs forte has always been its ability to move with the times, anticipate the needs of the future and suggest pro-active measures for furthering Indian business and industry. It has always been alive to the pulse of the environment in which it operates. Through the Chambers enlightened leadership, its powerful and progressive membership of important companies and its professional secretariat, the ICC has adapted to the changes in the global order and is moving ahead with confidence to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Focus Areas of Operation
Policy advocacy is the first and foremost function of the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Recognized as a proactive body of business, the ICC has contributed to economic policy making throughout the seven and a half decades of its existence. ICC anticipates future needs, responds to these challenges and prepares the stakeholders of the economy to benefit from these changes and opportunities. Through its linkages with partner chambers, it helps in making the voice of the Indian business community heard across continents.
In order to strengthen the business community with the essential tools of doing business better in a fast paced changing global business environment, the ICC offers a plethora of services, replete with a state of the art infrastructure such as video-conferencing and information networks that provide the cutting edge and managed by professional secretariat.
The bouquet of services offered by the ICC include:
Business Information Services at ICC
Recognizing that information is the key to business success, the ICC Business Information Services offer a wide array of information through an extensive computerized network. These include:
Economic Policy Analysis Reports, Macro-Economic Review Reports, Government Notifications, Guidelines, Data on tax rates, duties, Information on Indian states, Trade Enquiries, Country Profiles & Business Directories, Facts and Figures on Industry Sectors, Financial data of select companies and Online links to database worldwide.
ICC EXIM Initiative
In the backdrop of ever-increasing globalised business and cross-border trade, the ICC Foreign Investment & Trade Promotion Cell assists business and industry in the following manner:
- Hosting foreign business delegation and individual representatives of foreign business circles, business meetings and negotiations
- Sponsoring participation in international trade fairs and exhibitions
- Facilitating export process by issuing non-preferential Certificate of Origin
- Visa Recommendation
- Organising and conducting educative programmes relating to exim policy and procedures
- Maintaining a database providing useful information on exports and imports, identification of new resources, products and services, feedbacks to trade enquiries
- Making business connections with counterpart chambers all over the world for furtherance of investment and trade.
- Cooperation arrangements with leading chambers in the US, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Israel, Australia, among others.
ICC Agri Business Initiative
The Indian Chamber of Commerce, the leading organization of business and industry in Eastern and North-eastern India has been focusing on improving and increasing business opportunities for food industries in West Bengal. Given the growing importance of the Agro and Food Processing Sector in the Eastern region, ICC has formed the largest forum involving all stakeholders in the agro sector for facilitating growth and development. In the presence of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, ICC has launched a unique Forum for Food Industry in West Bengal named ICC Agri Business Initiativeby opening its doors to all potential leaders from this sector. This Forum will be uniquely positioned as an all-industry trade association, representing the interests of every segment of the Foods industry from Eastern region, including, Growers, Cold storage / Cold Chain, Processors, Equipment provider, Retailers, Foodservice Operators, logistics Providers, Distributors and Suppliers.In view of the strategic and economic importance of food sector in the Indian economy the forum will identify major bottlenecks that hinder the growth of food sector, identify its competitiveness in the global market and suggest a policy framework that would rejuvenate it, address the conflicting domestic policies relating to production, procurement, pricing and distribution, ineffective subsidy system, regulated domestic markets, lack of infrastructure facilities, low productivity, low value addition, ad hoc export policies and sensitize all the stakeholders including the Central and the State Governments to catalyse the necessary policy changes that are needed to make this sector more vibrant and competitive.
ICC Environment Management Center
The ICC-EMC specializes in promoting environment management amongst business and industry. Powered by a fully computerized network of information databases and a specialized intranet, the EMC’s basic objective is to promote environment management as a tool for enhancing competitiveness and efficiency. It provides ISO 14000 consultancy and facilitation, has empanelled experts and interacts extensively with the Government and Pollution Control Boards as well as experts in NGOs, academic institutions, industry and other institutions. It has produced a unique CD based database on environment legislation’s in India, and brings out an information-packed monthly newsletter Environment Watch. Under its aegis, the EMC also conducts an Energy Efficiency Initiative (E2i) which works for sensitization and awareness on energy efficiency in industries.
ICC Council of Arbitration
This is a specialized body, providing institutional service for the settlement of Commercial disputes. The ICCA also administers and conducts the proceedings of cases referred under the rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber Of Commerce, Paris and the Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi. It also provides advice on drafting of contracts and organizes conferences, seminars, workshops etc. for training of arbitrators and awareness programmes in association with the leading arbitral organizations like the Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi, International Chamber of Commerce, Paris and CPR Institute of Dispute Resolution, New York
In the wake of ICC’s MoU with the Council of State Governments (CSD) to implement a comprehensive ADR initiative in India, ICCA has planned to launch a series of ambitious initiatives aiming both at improving specific aspects of the arbitral services the ICC offers and deepening its involvement in improving emerging areas in dispute resolution.
ICC Young Leaders Forum
The ICC-YLF was set up to fulfill a long standing desire to involve the younger generation, the dynamic force of the nation today more actively in mainstream activities, be it social, political or economic spheres. The Young Leaders Forum hopes to channelize the strengths of the younger generation, the future leaders of the nation in different spheres, to shape a new framework for economic progress and development in the new millennium. The objective of the YLF is also to build confidence and leadership through greater networking with policy makers. It is the YLF’s mission to bring hope to the next generation and enable them to meet the challenges of the New Age era.
The ICC North East Initiative
North- Eastern India, comprising 8 sister States, is today poised for a major economic leap forward. A virtual tax-free package designed specially for the region, adequate availability of critical natural and energy resources, provide significant business opportunities that are practically untapped at this juncture. In a serious effort to showcase the business strengths of the north eastern states of India, the ICC has launched a new and major initiative of generating business and entrepreneurial interest in the region, being the premier chamber of commerce in the eastern and north-eastern region. As part of playing the catalyst in promoting business and attracting investments into the region, the ICC in collaboration with the Department of Development of North Eastern Region, Government of India, organizes an annual business summit in important metros of India to promote and generate investor interest in this resource-rich region.
ICC Convention Facilities
The ICC Convention Facilities include a well-equipped 500-seater auditorium and 3 conference rooms; State-of-the-art facilities such as video conferencing and computer projection equipment are available for business meetings. The ICC as the meeting place for business and industry is the most appropriate address for holding high profile business conferences.
ICC Voice IT Initiative
The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has embarked on a major initiative to create a platform for the IT and ITES industry in the Eastern segment of the country. The forum named as “VOICE IT – Vitalizing IT & Communications in the East”, was formally launched on April 30, 2005 by the then Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of West Bengal. VOICE IT’s mission is to facilitate the creation of a performance-powered environment for the players and propel the development of the region and the country. The aims of VOICE IT are to create an interface between industry and government for better policy advocacy; exchange and share best practices; propagate information and research; compile a database of all the IT and ITES firms in the region and the country, and other related bodies; create convergence - meetings, conferences, workshops; build brand for Kolkata and Eastern region as a vibrant IT destination, in India and abroad.
ICC Calcutta Foundation
The ICC Calcutta Foundation is a charitable trust set up by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Calcutta with the objective of promoting the well-being of Calcutta. The Foundation funds various projects to bring about a change in the quality of urban life and is geared to reach out to almost every sphere of urban life where deprivation and denials warrant redressal. Prevention of substance abuse, environment-friendly income generation projects, awards for excellence, the Better Calcutta Contest are just some of the ICC Calcutta Foundation’s long term projects.
Global MSME Forum
The ICC- Global MSME Forum is a Forum of all the stakeholders of the sector which includes Central Government, State Government, Representatives from Micro, Small and Medium Industry, Financial Institutions, Bankers, Credit Rating Agencies, Governing Bodies, Technology Providers etc. The Forum plays a pro-active role to be a facilitator between the industry and other stakeholders to make the sector more competitive. The activities of the Forum primarily include: providing relevant platform to the industry to present their concerns to the appropriate authorities; to assist industry in its efforts to become globally competitive; to meet periodically with the various relevant departments, Govt. officials, policy makers etc. to review and derive constructive measures to achieve the goal etc.
ICC Informatics is a specialized division of the Indian Chamber of Commerce that looks into design, development and implementation of software application projects. It implements the latest software development tools and methodologies with special emphasis to services in the field of:
· Geographical Information Systems (GIS);
· Digitization and Image Processing;
· Client/server applications;
· Specialized thin-client solutions (e-commerce and distributed applications);
Over the last few years the unit has acquired expertise in development of customized software solutions related to Industrial Risk Management, Environmental Management Information Systems etc. The ICC Informatics has been instrumental in development and implementation of the major European Commission funded project named Environmental Risk Reporting and Information System (ERRIS), which looks into the issue of industrial risk management for chemical and petrochemical downstream industries. The project has been successfully implemented in the industrial clusters of Haldia and Durgapur in West Bengal.
AS India continues to act more and more integrated with the world economy riding the waves of globalisation, ICC’s strategies and programmes are focused towards enhancing India’s competitiveness and through effectively utilizing opportunities that emerge from internationalization and liberalistion. We lay special emphasis on growth with equity, to bring about greater social development and employment as well as the faster growth of eastern and north- eastern region.
In the recent years, the Chamber came up with major Economic Surveys & Reports like ‘West Bengal Investment Climate Survey 2007’, and ‘Survey on IT & ITeS Sector in West Bengal’, both of which were very well received by Govt., Industry, Media and other relevant stakeholders. In the current year, the Chamber plans to release a number of Reports / Surveys of strategic importance including a ‘Report on Special Economic Zones with special focus on Rehabilitation & Resettlement (R & R)’; ‘Report on Status of State Finances, ‘Report on Regional Stock Exchanges & their Turnaround Strategies’ among others123.