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A Long Saga in Service of Trade & Industries…

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History of Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh



Lala Kamlapat Singhania, the doyen of the Indian Industrial and business community of those days in what was then called the United provinces of Agra & Oudh, saw to it, some fifty years ago that massage of swadeshi movement was put into practice in industries and commerce in this part of India. Chambers of Commerce, in those days, were, for the most part, either the handmaids of foreign business interests in India or the stepping stones for the political success of the Indian Lackeys of the “:British Raj”. This part of India was no exception to this rule. A Chamber of Commerce was, therefore, found a necessary adjunct of economic growth in the “Swadeshi” spirit that fired Lala Kamlapat Singhania and men of his way of thinking, in throwing open the Chamber of a public organization for the benefit of business entrepreneurs of those days. Lala Kamlapat Singhania said: “The main point that he has kept in view shall always be adhered to, is to enlist in the membership of the Chamber, only commercial interests, in order to encourage industrial enterprise in our Province in the same way as is being done elsewhere in the commercial world”.

About eighty years ago, in the month of November 1932 the Merchants’ Chamber of UP, was incorporated under section 26 of the Indian Companies Act, 1913 as a body devoted to public service, limited by guarantee, and motivated by no financial gains or profits. This incorporation implied at once the extension of recognition to the Chamber by the Governments, both Central and the Provincial of those days.

Patriotic and popular as he was leaders of business interest in Kanpur in particular and in U.P. in general, always looked up to him for guidance. This naturally meant the involvement in the Chamber, as members, of the cream of Indian business interests of those days and unanimous insistence on his assumption of office as the Founder President of the Chamber, addressing a General Meeting, in the above role, he said:
of the various questions of outstanding importance in the economic and commercial spheres in that of planned economy for this country, neither could be more inspiring for the economic statesmanship of any country than that it should plan out a scheme of intensive economic development of the own and then concentrate all the dynamic forces of a modern Government to carry out such a planned scheme

Within a brief period of a year, since its incorporation, had the unique privilege of the visits by the, leading members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council and Members of the Central Board of Revenue, apart from those of the Heads of Administrations of this Province.

The Chamber was invited in the month of May 1933 to lead evidence before the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on Indian Constitutional Reforms in order to place before that Committee the case of Indian Commerce & Industry of the United Provinces with particular reference to the inadequacy of the representation of the commercial community in the provincial Legislature as the allocation of only three seats in the U.P. Legislative Assembly for commerce & Industry was considered wholly inadequate and unfair in the context of the importance of commerce and industry of U.P. A plea for equal representation of Indian and European interests in the U.P Legislative Assembly was therefore put forward. The Delimitation Committee, while recognizing the claims of this Chamber for electoral privileges in connection with the reformed U.P Legislative Assembly recommended the constitution of the Chamber as a constituency.

By the year 1939, this Chamber had developed into such a mighty organization of the varied business interests in the State that even in national economic stage, this chamber’s participation was sought by both the Government and the Legislature of those days. In fact, the Government of U.P made use of this Chamber as the platform for the expression of Government’s views on economic questions of those days, year after year, in the absence of popular legislatures functioning in this province. The Chamber’s efforts in developing indigenous industries designed to prop-up munitions production and war requirements were lauded on all hand by both the Governments of those days and the opposition in Legislatures.

Sir Padampat Singhania, guided the Chamber without holding any office in it, into constructive activities designed to encourage the industrial and commercial welfares of this state.

During the years of the Second World War when every available resource was canalized into war efforts and social welfare or social needs other than those of the Armed Force had no place in the Scheme of things in those days, the Chamber, with its own influence and resources, arranged for the supplies of food grains to the employees of shops and commercial establishments in Kanpur, under a system of rationing devised by them. This was done under the statutory powers conferred in the Chamber. The activity had to cease with the universal introduction of statutory rationing all over India. This Chamber was actively consulted in the operation of the Railway Priority System for transport of goods during the war years and was the only public organization represented on the Railways priority Mechanism at work. This Chamber could organize Conference of all Commercial Managers of practically all the Railways in India at Kanpur to consider measures to tone up the Railways Priority System to serve public interests, not directly involved in war efforts more effectively.

With the experience gained in handling essential food grains for public distribution and rail transport mechanism at work, this Chamber was called upon, with the consent of the U.P Government by the then Government of West Bengal to handle the procurement in U.P and sale in Bengal of mustard oil for statutory rationing in Calcutta. Successful handling of this matter, for over a year, prevented the export of oil seeds to Bengal and encouraged oil crushing in U.P. itself. Rich tributes were paid to the Chamber by both the Governments for this act of splendid service and organization. A list of such constructive activities to help public interests are too numerous & comprehensive for mentioning here in short, in moments of acute scarcity in the provisioning of essential commodities such as coal, oilcakes, fertilizers etc, the help of this Chamber was assiduously sought and such help was given by the Chamber to any and all public authorities handling matters relating to their supplies and procurement.

In spite of this extraordinary pre-occupations, normal activities of this Chamber as a body representing the opinion of the industry and commerce of this State on particular and of Indian in general, were never allowed to sag and a constant vigil had been kept on enquiries and legislations public interests of businessmen.

With the ushering of our Political Independence and hence of full control over our economic affairs and the declaration thereafter, of our own Republican Constitution, which we gave to ourselves through t the Constituent Assembly in the in the period of 1949 to 1951, we as a Country took to economic planning which 2was envisaged by Lala Kamlapat Singhania from this Chambers’ platform as far back as in1933. In the shaping of the Second and Third Five Year Plans for this state, especially in regard to industrial production, this Chamber had considerable hand and portions of the chapter dealing with Industries were the handwork of this Chamber – a fact acknowledged by the authorities.

The inauguration of the Silver jubilee Celebrations of the Chamber on November 29, 1957 by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, marked the successful completion of twenty five years of useful service rendered by the Chamber in the cause of industry and commerce of India in general and of Uttar Pradesh in particular.

The useful activities of the Chamber won for it well-merited recognition and admiration of the Government as well as of the mercantile community in his inaugural address, the Prime Minister exhorted the business community ”to act in a spirit of self-less devotion to the economic development of the country in the manner and the style which this Chamber’s activities exemplified”. In the allotment and procurement of Coal, transport for coal and steel for this State as a whole, between 1950 and 1960, this Chamber played its prominent role alongside the State Government. This fact was acknowledged by the Departments concerned and the Government finance to the extent of about Rs.7000/- was made good to the Chamber for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the Chamber on this account.

Representations made by the Chamber, from time to time on fiscal and financial matters of both the Government of India and the Government of the State, received serious and adequate attention and statistical analysis shows that over 70% of the points made have been conceded. This Chamber has come for special mention in a number of Reports of the Committees of Enquiries set up by the Centre and the State, both written and oral, submitted before these Enquiries. In this connection, special mention may be made of two Company Law (Amendment) Committees, two Finance commissions, Five Taxation Enquiry Commissions and committees, set up by the Central as well as the U.P. State Governments, Central Excise Reorganization Committee, two committees of Control, One Import Export Policy and Administration Enquiry Committee, besides many others. In the drafting of the Sales Tax Law for U.P. in the year 1948, this Chamber’s services were offered, free of cost, and the same were gladly availed of by the then Government of U.P. Some of the successive amendments to U.P. Sales Tax Law could be traced to the initiative of this Chamber. In fact, whenever the business had to resort to direct action by way of strikes and protests over this matter, the community, keeping in view the constructive approach of the Chamber, always unanimously called upon the Chamber, as such, to keep its constructive activities unaffected by these strikes and to keep out of direct action taken by them, from time to time. Plea for rationalization of sales tax structure with a view to augmenting resources of the State, accelerating industrial production and increasing inter-state trade, without causing any hardships to the business community, was advanced before the U.P. Taxation Enquiry Committee set by the U.P. Government in the year 1968. Replacement of octroi levies and terminal taxes by any alternative tax, much less cumbersome and unambiguous in interpretations, was strongly advocated. This had led the Chamber to undertake a special study of the working of the VAT system in the EEC countries at considerable expense. Materials emerging from this study are with the Chamber and they will be used at the appropriate time. These are but a few samples of considerable volume of constructive work done and co-operation offered to the Government of India and of this State. These activities have drawn the attention of the successive Governments of India and this State without a break over the last fifty years –no matter, how the climate of politics changed, from time to time.

The declaration of National Emergency consequent upon the unprovoked and wanton aggression of the Chinese Peoples Republic on the sacred soils of India, in the month of April 1962, aroused the patriotic feelings of public in general and the business community in particular. The Co-coordinating Committee of businessmen, set up under the Chairmanship of Sir Padampat Singhania, maintained constant touch with the Government officials on the adoption of protective and precautionary measures to avoid breakdowns in the factories engaged in munitions production in electric power generation installations and in water works and to ensure uninterrupted supply of arms and ammunition to defence forces. Contributions made by the Chamber, in this direction, won admiration of the Governments.

The Chamber’s delegation under the leadership of Shri. Padampat Singhania gave oral evidence before the Task Force on Technical Education headed by Dr. Trigun Sen on 16th April 1965. His forceful pleadings before the Task Force have resulted in the setting up by the Government of India of the Board of Apprenticeship Training, which organizes impartation of practical trainings to the technically educated persons who have acquired purely theoretical knowledge in different Technical and Technological institutions, functioning in the country. The Chamber, with the assistance of the Directorate of Industries, U.P. organized and conducted a two-day Seminar on the “Industrialization of U.P and its Promotion” on August 12-13 1966 under the Chairmanship of Shri. S. Vaish, President of the Chamber, in the immediate presence of Smt. Sucheta Kripalani, the then Chief Minister of U.P. On this occasion, the Chamber and the Directorate of Industries U.P, jointly laid on the table of the Seminar, Feasibility Reports (only in outline) on about 149 industries that could be developed profitably in Uttar Pradesh. This Seminar whipped up considerable public interest in the problems besetting the Industrial development of U.P. and more than a dozen large-scale Industrial units and a few scores small scale units were projected and some of them came into existence. The Chamber came to be accepted as the leading non-official organization and spokesmen on the industrial development of U.P. after this event and was associated closely in planning for industrial growth by the Planning Bodies, both at the Centre and in the State.

The Government of U.P, commissioned the Chamber sometime in July 1968 to prepare a note on the industrialization of U.P and inter alia to analyse the licensing procedure as applicable to industries. Shri. Sohanlal Singhania, President of the Chamber, prepared and presented an exhaustive and a very comprehensive note to the Government of U.P. This note was laid on table at the well-attended conference of Industrialists, Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission, Ex-Chief Members of the State and economists from Universities in U.P. convened by the Governor on 16th September 1968.

Another two-day Seminar on “Development of Indigenous Technology-posed for Growth” organized by the Chamber on October 9-10, 1970, laid stress on the fact that the world had entered a few stage of technical change with computers, nuclear energy, space potentials etc. greatly altering the conventional ways of production, distribution and services and that development of modern technology to suit mass production has pushed its was up in direct proportion to the availability of research talents, state of industrial development, resources in finance and capital goods and the deployment of industries. A Seminar under the joint auspices of the Merchants’ Chamber of U.P., Small Industries Corporation Ltd., on the Establishment of Sub-Contracting Clearing House in U.P held on 18th February 1971 with Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, in the Chair, was inaugurated by Shri. Mohanlal, Deputy Minister for Industries, U.P. The seminar was addressed by Shri. K.N. Sapru, Chairman, National Small Industries Corporation and details of the functioning of the scheme was explained by Shri. A.G. Lobo.

Another two-day seminar on the “Availability and Utilization of Raw Materials” was organized jointly by the Merchants’ Chamber of U.P and the U.P. Small Industries Corporation Ltd., on May 10-11, 1971. The Seminar was addressed by Shri. Balachandran, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Industrial Development, Government of India, Shri Gyan Prakash, Industries Secretary, U.P., Sr. S.S. Sidhu, Iron & Steel Controller, Shri. P.L. Tandon, Chairman, MMTC, Problems connected with policies and procedures concerning the Import and Export Control, Iron & Steel Control, State Corporation and Minerals Trading Corporation insofar as they had an impact on the provisioning of raw materials to industries were discussed at the Seminar.

The third Seminar on “Industrial Promotion” organized by the Chamber on July 17, 1971 was inaugurated by Sir Padampat Singhania, in his inaugural address, while laying stress on the prospects and promotion of Small Industries in the State, Sir Padampat deprecated the tendency to foment labour troubles, which only ruined the State’s economy Emphasizing the need to develop ancillary Industries, Sir Padampat referred to his own difficulties in securing packing cases for containing television equipments and said that there was ample scope for any technical person to manufacture various ancillary items.

The fourth Seminar on “Development of Electronics Industries in U.P” organized jointly by the U.P. Small Industries Corporation Ltd. And the Merchants’ Chamber of U.P was held on 17th August, 1971 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania. The Seminar was inaugurated by Shri Deokinandan Vibhav, Minister of State for Industries, U.P. in his inaugural address, the Minister laid stress on the significant role of Electronics Industry in the all-round development of the country. Agreeing with the proposal made by the President of the Chamber Shri Vibhav announced, amidst applause, the setting up in Kanpur of an Industrial Estate exclusively for electronics Industries, where financial and materials assistance facilities would be extended to the prospective entrepreneurs by UPFC, State Bank of India and the UPSIDC.

Consequent upon this industrial growth generated by the Chamber, problems impinging upon Technology transfers, foreign Industrial technology assimilation by the industry in U.P standardization and availability of capital goods loomed large and Dr. Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber, who has already on the Industry panel of the U.P planning committee, with the cooperation of the United States Government information services, organized and conducted a two-day seminar on April 5th & 6th 1973, on “Industrial Technology transfers and Inter-dependence”, with some leading Economists and Technologists from India and U.S.A, actively participating therein. The proceedings of the Seminar and papers laid on the table there were rated as top class and as laying the foundation for stimulating the thought – process and the translation of that through – process into the action in respect of the matters discussed in the Seminar.

It is, therefore, no surprise that Dr. Sampurnanand when he was U.P’s Chief Minister, accorded to this Chamber, the unique privilege of addressing a meeting of the Members of Parliament from U.P which he had convened to sponsor Industries in U.P with the Central assistance, both the public sector and in the private sector This tradition has been maintained, thereafter, by the successive Governor and the Chief Ministers of the State.

Promulgation on July 19, 1969 of the banking companies (acquisition and transfer of undertakings) ordinance, nationalizing fourteen major Indian scheduled banks, evoked considerable resentments among the business public. Grave concern of the Chamber was expressed that the country’s economy, which had been stunned by the blow of devaluation of the rupee in June 1966, had just started recovering through the painful process of further sacrifice the enormous efforts, when just for ideological reasons divorced from practical considerations, the Government had taken another unwarranted and unwelcome step nationalization of banks especially when the recent imposition of social control on banking companies was directed solely to achieve the ends in view.

A warm reception was accorded the Chamber of Shri. Ramnath A. Poddar, President, Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on 21st February, 1970. Expressing his personal views, Shri Poddar felt that the much talked on nationalization of ‘sugar industry and of’ general insurance’ and the State-take-over of whole sale trade in commodities would not be in the interest of the country as a whole.

Representative of the Chamber under the Chairmanship of Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, held discussions in 11th April 1970 with Shri. R. Venkataraman, the then member (Industries), planning commission, on the performance of Industrial ventures in U.P. the subject of location in UI.P. of increasing number of public sector projects to make good the deficiency of sought – fall in allocation of public sector projects to U.P during the three plan periods, in terms of weightage accorded to U.P’s population, clearness of Industrial license, institutional investments in U.P., possible expansions of capacities of ‘existing Central Government Project, rationalization and modernization of the existing Industrial units in Private Sector, figured prominently at the deliberations. The Chairman laid stress on the fact that the application of latest technologies employed other states in their Industrial development programmer, provision of adequate infrastructure for a real and speedy industrial development and the pumping in the adequate financial resources to arrive at the “take-off” stage in the self-generating economy, had all been woefully ignored in U.P and that in the location of public sector units in U.P the state had been blacked out completely in the first and second plans and that In 3rd plan, U.P was allocated only 3.8% of the total investments’‘ in India. Investments in infrastructure, indispensable for economic developments, such as electric power generation and transmission, construction of roads and provision of communications facilities provision of water supply of irrigation purposes etc. had been insignificant and unrealistic. The greatest handicaps to economic development of U.P. it was submitted had been the denial of overseas export market to U.P and the non-availability of rail freight concessions for movement of manufactured goods to port towns for export purposes. Shri Venkataraman admitted that U.P had done much better in the field of small scale units and that the state ranked fifth among the states in India in development of small scale industries. Shri Venkatraman advised the members of the Chamber to create a psychology of development & of marching ahead with what was readily available if they really aspired for economic development of the State. He deprecated the tendency on the part of U.P Government to adopt the negative attitude in place of positive attitude and actions designed towards development.

Addressing the representatives of the Chamber of 15th September, 1970, Shri. T. Swaminathan, Secretary, Industrial Development and Internal Trade, Government of India admitted that U.P lagged very much behind in Industrial development after independence and as compared to what Madras, Bengal & Gujarat had achieved in the post – independence era, by the way of attracting investment in Industries U.P did practically little to improve the economic status of the state. He advised the Industrialists and businessmen in U.P to exploit fully the economic potentials of obtainable in the State witho0ut indulging in or involving themselves in the State politics. Shri Swaminathan said that U.P. possessed immense potential for development of agro-based industries, processed food, sucro –chemicals etc. and he assured every possible facilities and assistance to Industrialists in their efforts to industrialist the State.

A delegation of the Chamber led by Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber, tendered oral-evidence before the Banking Commission on 8th June 1971, in his evidence the leader of the Chamber delegation, laid stress on the fact that while U.P contributed 7.4% of the total bank deposits, its share to the Bank credit was hardly 4.7%. This clearly showed that a substantial portion of resources collected in U.P by banks, was diverted for investment for other States. It was submitted that Branch expansion of commercial banks in U.P. with autonomous Regional offices independent of their headquarters in respect of their day-to-day operations, would be an answer not only for mobilization of deposits in the State but also for facilitating advances to viable economic enterprises. The delegation further made explicitly clear that the economic development of the State would take place only when the Banking Institutions including the insurance companies took interest in the economic development with provision of adequate finances.

Industrial development of Uttar Pradesh was further discussed with Shri. B.B. Lal, Secretary, Ministry of Industrial Development, Government of India on 10th March 1972 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania. The Chairman pointed out that the positive encouragement to the promotion and establishment of Industries in U.P. could be turned into production and profitable units, with the functioning of an organization to render consultancy service, solely devoted to Industrial development of the State. The Chairman felt that with the functioning of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and with the availability of management skills in different industrial groups and with the near-perfect accomplishment in the art of acting as a catalyst in synthesizing intelligence for industrial promotion by the Chamber, the creation of the nucleus for such a consultancy organisation would not pose any problem. Efforts made, in this direction, the Chairman said, could not make any headway because all these efforts had been isolated in conception, approach and patronizing in execution. There was no dependable survey of the generation of savings and deployment of resources in various channels of economic activities in the State to pin-point need-based and circumstance-based priorities in industrial promotion and in canalizing available resources in different economic operations, to secure maximum benefits. Discussions at the meeting were very elaborat4e, elucidatory and exploratory in nature. Assurance was extended that the suggestions made by the Chamber would receive due consideration of the Government of India.

It is a matter of gratification that the suggestion made by the President of the Chamber for formation of a consultancy agency, found favour with the U.P. Government and the U.P Industrial Consultants Ltd., has been established with head office in Kanpur to provide consultancy service to the prospective as well as to the existing entrepreneurs.

In an exhaustive note prepared by the Chamber on “Planning of Industrial expansion in U.P” while referring to the fact that the State was still a predominantly agricultural State, with 86% of its population dwelling in rural areas, depending on the vagaries of nature for agricultural production and applying the old, primitive and indigenous equipments in agricultural operations, it was pointed out that this overwhelming dependence of the State on an undeveloped agricultural sector, was the main cause for backwardness of this State. Per capita income of U.P in 1950-51 was 259.5, which was 5% higher than, the then all-India average of 247.5 in 1969-70 per capita income of the State was less by 26% than the all-India average in 1960-61, contribution of the Industrial sector of the State income was 10.20%, as compared to the all India average of 30.10% in 1968-69, this contribution went up to 10.6% as compared to 22.3% for the country as a whole. There was no material change in the rate of growth and the contribution of the Industrial sector in 1969-70. For a rapid and sustained growth of the State income, it was felt necessary to achieve insignificant development of the Industrial sector. It was pertinently mentioned, in the connection, that no central Industrial project was located in the State during the first and the second Plan periods. During the third Plan, a meager invest of only about Rs.72 crores was made in the State.

The main contributory factor to the dismal performance of the Industrial sector in the State, in the last two decades, has been grossly inadequate generation and distribution of electric power, rendering inevitable the frequent enforcement of restrictions on the consumption of Industrial power. The overall power shortage in the State continued to afflict the Industrial and agricultural sectors, without any apparent sign of improvement, in the near future. In view of the fast depletion of coal reserves and the progressive disappearance of other traditional and conventional sources of fossil fuels, prospects for alternatives and discoveries of renewable sources of energy, such as solar energy, tidal energy, nuclear energy, bio-gas etc, were comprehensively discussed at a seminar on “Solar Energy; Prospects and Problems” organized by the Chamber on January 2-3, 1981, under the Chairmanship of Shri. Govind Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber. Stress was laid on the fact that the country possessed immense potential for solar energy production, owing to its geographical location in the solar belt and owing to the availability of sun rays in abundance and in plentiful and unrestricted supply, free of cost. Further, a proposal for installation of captive power plants sector, sponsored by Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania in the year 1981 had been under active consideration of the U.P. Government. However, keeping in view the prospects for hydro-electrical potentials in the State, His Excellency, Shri. C.P.N/ Singh, Governor of Uttar Pradesh ,inaugurating the Annual session of the Chamber on 25th February 1981 made the following observations;

“I am told that at least 10,000 mw of electricity can be generated through harnessing of rivers of the Himalayan Region in the State alone. I have urged the Government to develop these and will make the efforts to find resources for taking up these projects which would be in the best interest of national economy”. The planning Commission also took decision to set up three working groups to develop new approaches to utilize the Himalayan Hydro-electrical potentials offered by the fast flowing rivers and streams of Himalayas of nearly 13,000 mw at 60% of load factor.

At a special meeting of Industrialists of larger houses, public sector concerns and those of Banking organizations and financial institutions held with Shri. T.A Pai, Minister for Heavy Industries, Government of India, on 29th April, 1973, Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber said that the country had not attained technological standards of its own to account, both qualitatively and quantitatively for optimum performance in most items of capital goods production. Certain technological improvement have, however, been attained in some directions and our machines and machine tools have created ready demand in the sophisticated west. He made a pointed reference to the occurrence of power shortage, almost all over India, which revealed that planning in every direction could go awry and that the country was woefully in equipments for building huge power plants on “turn-key” jobs. His Excellency Dr. M. Channa Reddy, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, on November 18, 1974,was accorded a warm welcome by Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber while referring to the economic backwardness of the State, laid stress on having frequent and fruitful deliberations on problems of resources and priorities, infrastructure needed for development of agriculture and industries, supply of electric energy in adequate measure and development of means of transport and communications.

His Excellency Dr. M. Chenna Reddy, Governor of U.P inaugurated the 43rd Annual session of the Chamber on 23rd September 1975 and he exhorted the businessmen to concentrate all their energies and resources on the exploitation of natural resources available in the State for the economic regeneration and reconstruction of the State and to regain its earlier position as one of the economically advanced States in the country. At a reception accorded to him on 5th February 1975. Shri. Y.B. Chavan, Union Minister for External Affairs, said that the traditional patters determined for trade, for economic development and for securing balances through mutual cooperation have all given way to international chaos and universal monetary debacle and inflation. He advised the business to shun profiteering and hording in the larger interest of the country. In the wake of the proclamation of a state of emergency by the President of India on 26th June 1975, this Chamber was perhaps the only body of its type to officially support that declaration and to stand committed to what was euphemistically called the 20-point programme, which directly concerned commerce and industry, the Chamber’s activities were directed.

In course of a comprehensive memorandum submitted to the indirect Taxation Enquiry committee set up by the Government of India on 30th July1976, under the Chairmanship of Shri. L.K. Jha, to review the existing structure of indirect taxes, abolition of octroi levies was strongly recommended and the replacement of the varying systems of Sales Tax and purchase tax, with varying of taxes for different commodities in different States, by one broad-based system of commodity taxation with uniform rates and uniform exemptions all over India was suggested. Considered views and observations of the Chamber were submitted to the Sachar Committee set up by the Government of India of 1977 to review the Companies Act 1956 and the MRTP ACT 1969 WITH A VIEW TO REMOVE POSSIBLE ANOMALIES IN THE TWO Acts and to suggest measures to Plug the loopholes and to the Bhoothalingam Study Group, set up in October 1977, to make recommendations for formation of a comprehensive and integrated policy on Wages, Income and Prices, in course of written and oral evidence before the Dagi Committee, set up in February 1978, to review the system of controls on prices production, distribution, licenses and movements it was pleaded that most of the central measures, still in force, must be scrapped forthwith as they had become out-moded and out-dated in U.P., there still existed over 70 statutory control measures and orders covering about 50 commodities and commodity groups and it was recommended that such control orders and regulations as have led to distortion in production and productivity should be scrapped and statutory with-drawn. Recommendations made by the Direct Tax Laws Committee (Chokey Committee) on the simplification and rationalization of direct tax laws were consider4ed at a Seminar organized by the Chamber on 5th August 1978 in the immediate presence of a Member of that Committee. Suggestions made at the Seminar were duly forwarded to the Chairman of the Committee.

The Rail Tariff Enquiry Committee headed by Dr. Paranjape met representatives of the Chamber on 1st August 1979 under the Chairmanship on Shri Govind Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber. On this occasion, a historical review of growth in freights and fares was submitted to the Committee. The proposed hike in the freight charges as recommended by the Committee was not viewed with favour as such rises in the past had acted as constraints to industrial progress. Observations were made on the impact of rail-road competition on freight rates and the need for rail-road coordination for smooth movements of essential commodities.

In response to the decision taken by the FICCI, All-India Traders’ meet (Kanpur Centre) was organized on 13th October 1979, when it was unanimously decided that the traders should organize themselves and that they should come out and expound their cause before the public. Member bodies and Associate members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry at Kanpur, accorded a reception to Shri. Hari Shanker Singhania, President, FICCI on October 28, 1979. Shri Singhania referred to the prevalence of grim situation in the country since the very beginning of the year 1979 and to a number of uncoordinated measures taken by the Government, which were unrelated to actual problems. On 29th October 1979, a joint reception was accorded by the Merchants’ Chamber of UP and the Directorate of Industries U.P. to Shri. Hari Shanker Singhania, President, FICCI and the Dy. Chief Minister, U.P under the chairmanship of Shri. Govind Hari Singhania, President of The Chamber Dwelling on the industrial and economic environment in U.P. Shri Singhania emphasized that there was need for vigorous entrepreneurial development in the State. The Dy. Chief Minister U.P. appealed to the eminent industrialists present on the occasion, to keep their mind open for fresh investments in U.P. as well as for expansion of capacity and for diversification production in the State as per statutory provisions.

The economic conditions of U.P. with particular reference to power shortages were discussed by the President of the Chamber, Shri Govind Hari Singhania with the Chief Minister, U.P. on 3rd July 1980. Administration of the Sales Tax reference to the inspection and search was discussed with the Finance Minister, U.P on 19th September 1980 and the various problems confronting the industrial sector on labour front, were discussed with the Labour Minister U.P on 17th October 1980.

On 8th November 1980, representatives of the business community under the chairman-ship of Shri. Govind Hari Singhania, President of the Chamber, met Shri. R Venkataraman, Finance Minister, India in the illuminating address, the Union Finance Minister said that the only solution to inflation was greater production, which could be obtained from better utilization of existing capital stock. Referring to the unsatisfactory performance in infrastructural sector, which reflected in the in the deteriorating rate of capacity utilization, the Finance Minister informed the meeting that the Cabinet Committee on the infrastructure under his chairmanship, had identified reasons for the more important constraints in infrastructure and had take coordinate action to relax them and he felt that with the relaxation of power constraints and with the improvement of transport problems, the economy would register a vigorous growth. The Finance Minister suggested that the private sector equity should be raised from its investing community rather than by seeking institutional support.

Shri. M.P. Jhunjhunwala, President of the Chamber, discussed with the Governor of U.P., on 6th April, 1981, measures for accelerating the pace of industrialization and economic development of the State. The President also met the Industry Minister, U.P. on the same date when the latter informed him about the setting up and functioning of “Udyog Bandhu Cell”, both for large scale and heavy industries as well as for small scale, cottage and tiny units, with a view to provide one-window service to entrepreneurs for the processing of their applications for new projects and for the removal of grievances and bottle-necks of the existing industries.

The Merchants’ Chamber of Uttar Pradesh, established to serve the interest of Indian businessmen, has completed fifty years of its useful and varied activities in the cause of the economic development of Uttar Pradesh in particular & of India in general, it would be observed that the useful & varied activities of the Chamber in the cause of economic development of Uttar Pradesh has been expanding progressively in different directions and the Chamber has been making valuable contributions, through its manifold activities, to raise the industrial & commercial status of this State, in particular. Further, the Chambers’ activities have not been confined only to seeking the advancement of industrial and commercial interest but, since its very inception, the Chamber has been taking active part in initiating and implementing various economic and social measures conductive to the welfare of the community at large and for ameliorating the conditions of the weaker sections of the society. During the long span of fifty years of its existence the Chamber has done its best to maintain its high tradition of self-less devotion to the protection, promotion and advancement of the general, commercial and financial interest of the State. The illuminating and inspiring addresses of the dignitaries and their valuable advices to the business community and the elite of this State, on different occasions, have encouraged them to engage in developmental activities with considerable success. Thus this Chamber has been recognized organization of commerce, industry, finance and distributive traders functioning in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Golden Jubilee Meeting and fifty first annual General Meeting was addressed by Hon’ble Union Minister of Industry Sri Narain Dutt Tiwari, Hon’ble Minister of Industry Sri. Vir Bahadur Singh U.P. was also present. Sri. N.D. Tiwari asked the industrialists of Kanpur to introspect why State of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab/Haryana have been buzzing with industrial activity and why the entrepreneurs from other States were not attracted to UP, in spite of the fact UP abounded in immense Natural wealth, skilled Manpower, forest wealth, Plentiful of water. Sri. N.L. Khanna, President and Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania, Convener of the Golden Jubilee year celebrations delivered their speech.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1987. Past Presidents of the Chamber, distinguished Members of business community, Members of Parliament, State Legislative Administrative Heads of various departments (Center & State) and elite of Kanpur accorded heavy Ovation to the Prime Minister, Sri. N.L. Khanna President introduced the Prime Minister and presented to PM a Copy of the Golden Jubilee Souvenir.

Dr. S.S. Siddhu, Secretary Industry, Govt. of India, visited the Chamber. The function was presided by Sri.B.K. Somani, President MCUP. He said that necessary infrastructure is needed to achieve the targeted growth rate and requested him to consider the same. Dr. Siddhu agreed with Sri. Somani and informed about the radical changes made as compared to past and lot has bee3n done to improve the industrial climate.

H.E. Chan Keng Howe, High Commissioner Singapore in India visited the Chamber. President Sri. B.K. Somani welcomed the High Commissioner and recalled the age old bilateral ties and cultural cooperation. H.E. Howe wished to offer all facilities in Entrepreneurs of the State and invited them to set up their shops in Singapore and strengthen bilateral trade.

Sri. K.B. Agrawal welcomed Sri. T.E. Narayanan Chairman CBDT and praised the radical changes made in last two budgets and requested him to abolish wealth Tax.

H.E. John Gunther, Dean. Ambassador of USA in India visited Merchants’ Chamber. Dr. K.B. Agrawal welcomed him and took a decision to promote the export activities from the Chamber.

Sri. K.G. Lahoti the President of MCUP invited Hon’ble Minister of Railways Sri. Madhavrao Scindia who visited the Chamber and announced major facilities for passengers like construction of 4 new platforms, foot over bridge in Juhi, computerized reservation, extension of Fazalganj yard, cctv AT Kanpur Central and doubling the Railway track from Kanpur to Lucknow. President Sri.K.G. Lahoti also led a delegation in 1988-89 to Union Minister of fiinance Sri. N.D.Tiwari to seek amendments in Section 44AC and 206 C. of Income Tax Act. As a result and with a further follow up Government announced removal of scrap and waste from Section44AC.

Mr. George Lemineux IInd Secretary, High Commission of Canada visited the Chamber. Mr. Lemineux gave detailed information regarding industrial collaboration between Canada and India.

Sri. T.N. Pandey, Chairman CEDT visited Chamber and Sri. Ramesh Marolia welcomed him. Sri. R. Marolia said abolition of Gold Control Act was welcome step. Sri. Pandey informed that I.T. Department has brought out several Schemes and simplified the rates to motivate the public to pay taxes.

Sri. M.N. Prasad, Chairman Railway Board visited Chamber, President Ramesh Marolia informed Kanpur Central was important junction of 5 different railways in pre independence era. Afterward the population of Kanpur increased rapidly but the trains originating from Kanpur have not gone up. He also said that passenger amenities have increased. Chairman Railway Board informed said that he understands the need and proposals for improvements as demanded by Chamber shall be taken into consideration.

Sri. R K Jhunjhunwala, Vice President, welcoming Sri .J. Zaadhof, Counselor Royal Embassy of Netherlands, reviewed the areas of possible cooperation and praised the Dutch approach to development of Trade between the two countries; Mr. Zaardhof identified the areas of possible cooperation and mentioned leather goods. Readymade Garments, food processing, horticulture, floriculture, Agriculture machine and animal feed.

Sri. R .S. Rathore, Chairman CBDT visited the Chamber and said that the schemes are being worked out to enhance collection of direct and its share in country’s economy.

Mr. Kenneth C Brill Charge de affairs, interim Embassy of USA visited the Chamber. Sri. Y.P. Singhania President of MCUP said that in spite of the cultural difference USA & India had idle of democracy in common along with keen desire to develop closer relations. Mr. Brill called upon to cooperate in telecommunication, Higher education and agriculture reforms and put India at par with Global economic Scenario.

Dr. N.M. Dhuldhoya, President of Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industry visited Chamber in invitation from Sri. Y.P. Singhania President, MCUP. Sri Singhania said in his welcome speech that radical & rapid changes are being witnessed not only in India but also in the world. This has thrown open new challenges and new potential for economic development. Dr. Dhuldhoya called upon th3e industrialists to meet the new challenges by enhancing exports.

On H.E. Mr. Ephraim Dowek. Ambassador of Israel’s visit to the Chamber , Sri. N.K. Jhajharia, President of the Chamber introduced Mr. Dhowek and informed that in spite of Israel being a tiny democratic country with very small population, half of the land being arid, battling with scarcity of water it had achieved super intensive agriculture due to its integrated approach to agricultural development. Israel had much to offer to India to enable to feed the large population it supports. H.E. Mr. Dowek informed that it was hard for Israel citizens to make Israel what it is today wished to make solid trade relations with each other.

Dr. C. Rangarajan, Governor RBI addressed the Members regarding economic and Industrial growth of India and he visited the Chamber Sri. N.K. Jhajharia laid emphasis achieving the Industrial growth rate of 7%. Dr. Rangarajan said that development of country’s economy has long way to go since the darkest period of India Economy in 90-91 when we started from empty coffers in 1996 to a reserve of $26 Billion in 1997. Sri. Yashwant Sinha Hon’ble Minister of Finance visited the Chamber and Emphasized the need to catch up with the growth rate of other developing countries. He informed that variou7s job oriented projects have been taken up in the country and specifically mentioned the Prime Minister’s Road development project of 13,000 kms, He also emphasized the need for uplift of infrastructure to drive the development efforts and Kanpur had great potential to become IT Hub.

Dr. Karan Singh Chairman India Cultural Relation visited the Chamber in September 2005 and praised the Merchants’ Chamber of Uttar Pradesh for its wide range of promotional activities. Dr. Jairam Ramesh State Minister Commerce was invited to open the Kanpur Chapter of Federation of Indian Export Organizations. The Chamber had arranged with FIEO to open their office in the premises of MCUP without any charges.

Interact session was held on 18th July 2006 in Sir Padampat Singhania Auditorium and same was attended by Industrialists, Traders overwhelming was very successful. Secretary. Commerce, Govt. of India Sri G.K. Pillai has accepted the Chamber’s invitation, addressed to the Industrialists, Traders & Commerce to attend their problems on 14th June 2007.

Chamber’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on 23rd September 2008 H.E. President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Pati addressed the members of the Chamber, Traders and Industrialist.

On 21st November, 2009 Sri Jyotiraditya Scindia Hon’ble State Minister for Commerce addressed the members of the Chamber and promised to rectify the bottleneck for speedy growth of the Nation.(Transaction cost) In January 1st 2010, MCUP organized a Seminar to look into the possibilities of making Kanpur as a IT HUB.

Dr. F.C. Kohli, Shri. Satish Chandra Mishra, Advisor of Government of U.P and Shri Anant Mishra, Hon’ble Health Minister of U.P and various entrepreneurs including TCS were called to express their interest in to organizing as a centre of information technology.

Shri. C.V. Bhave, Chairman SEBI addressed the members of the Chamber and Stock Exchange on March 10, 2010. On May 29, 2010 Shri. B. L. Joshi, Hon’ble Governor of U.P addressed to the members of MCUP and accorded persons of eminence & entrepreneurs for their outstanding contribution to society , State and the Nation.

The Chamber celebrated 125th birth anniversary of our founder Lala Kamlapat Singhania and addressed the members of the Chamber by Dr. Manmohan Singh Hon'ble Prime Minister of India as Chief Guest on 3rd July 2010. Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Defense. Government of India Sri. M.M. Pallam Raju. Accepted our invitation to address to the Members of the Chamber and also the suppliers for the defense on 28th September 2010. The Chamber has been in the past couple of years organizing Seminars to motivate young entrepreneurs and existing entrepreneurs who would like to other field have organizing following Seminars:

a. Agro based products,
b. Potential of plastic poroducts
c. Potential of leather footwear and components
Now we are organizing Seminar on Textile. If participation in this seminar indicating peoples’ interest in Industrialization.

Related Links: About Us | Objectives | History

Message from President

I am proud to be chosen to lead Merchants’ Chamber of Uttar Pradesh and it is with great honour that I accept the challenge of becoming the President of this great organization, one of the oldest Chambers in India started by Lala Kamlapat Singhania ji in the year 1932.

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20 March, 2018 at 05:30 PM: Merchants' Chamber of UP & Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) jointly with O/o Joint Director General of Foreign Trade, Kanpur are organizing Seminar on Foreign Trade Policy under Niryat Bandhu & International Trade.

10 March, 2018 at 06:00 PM: Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh and Neem Tree Morning Walkers are jointly commemorating Holi wishes ceremony.

31 January, 2018 at 12:30 PM: Merchants Chamber of Uttar Pradesh, U.P. GST Department, Kanpur Income Tax Bar Association, Tax Bar Association and Sales Tax Bar Association are jointly organizing interactive session with the U.P. GST Department.

25 January, 2018 at 11:30 AM: Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh is felicitating Sri Yadupati Singhanhia, Chief Patron, M.C.U.P., for being awarded the best CEO in Cement Sector by Business Today.

21 January, 2018 at 05:00 PM: Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh, The Young Achievers Group (TYAG) and Rotary Club of Kanpur Metro are organizing an interactive and motivational session on Life Style Management, "Design Your Year -Celebrate Life."

19 January, 2018 at 3 PM: Merchants' Chamber and Federation of Indian Export Organization are jointly organizing an interactive session with C.B.E.C. Commissioner Customs Preventive Lucknow shall address the stake holders importers/exporters on change in Jurisdiction of ICD and other measure being taken up by Government.

1 January, 2018 at 11:30 AM: Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh is organizing an inauguration-session of Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania Conference Hall on New year's Day, 1st January, 2018. Sri Y.P. Singhania has consented to join the session and inaugurate the beautifully constructed Hall.

27 December, 2017: Merchants' Chamber of Uttar Pradesh is organizing a webinar on "Refund functionalities available at GST portal." Ms Kalyaneshwari Patil, AVP (Service), GST shall address the webinar.


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