14 January, 1978, an auspicious day in the Hindu Calendar, when the City of Mumbai formerly known Bombay was dedicated its World Trade Center, inaugurated by the Honourable Shri Morarjee Desai (1977-79) the then Honorable Prime Minister of India. Shri Vasantrao Patil (1977-85) the then Honorable Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra and Shri S.K. Wankhede, Founder President presided, along with well known personalities from business, government and artists were present at this grand opening ceremony, to witness congratulatory messages from the World Trade Centre Association New York. It was on this day that the first phase of construction of the WTC Mumbai was completed, with the Center expected to be spread over 17 acres of land in South Mumbai Cuffe Parade area, symbolizing a great mélange of tireless efforts of industrialists, businessmen and government.
The concept of a World Trade Center in Mumbai was born of a vision of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, on 26 June, 1970, epitomizing a strong conviction that India’s future prosperity lay in trade, industrial research and development. He anticipated the need for India’s industrial development through research and development in the fields of education, trade, investment and the economy as a whole, with the motto clearly being, “Prosperity through trade”.
The WTC concept embraces every aspect of trade to facilitate its growth. The WTC envisioned the importance of exhibition and hence the Expo Center was constructed with a view to provide a world class centrally air-conditioned exhibition space at the Center of the city with a 360º view of the Arabian Sea.
WTC Mumbai serves as a corollary to India’s challenges in the areas of economy and trade, virtually growing beyond the ambit or scope of the government and trade promotion organizations. At the time, there was felt the need of a concept of World Trade Center at a global level which could create the necessary linkages in various sectors of the economy across countries of the world.
It was in the 1960s that the idea of WTC Mumbai emerged to create an effective vehicle for promotion of trade and investment of the country. Since then, it has continued to serve as an umbrella to all agencies connected with international trade as well as business knowhow and expertise, providing centralized services and facilities to promote trade. The idea of showcasing arts and crafts of more than seven leading states of the government through their emporia have all been housed in the Arcade.
Mumbai was conceived as the ideal choice to house such a center since it was the capital of the country for industry, trade, commerce and finance.
The World Trade Center addresses the key issues of International Development through educational programmes, research &publications, tenant facilities and an array of trade activities.
The promoters of WTC Mumbai developed the idea and concept of the Center in a unique tripartite partnership of state, government and the private sector. In due course WTC Mumbai was registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 as a Section 25 not-for-profit company named M. Visvesvarya Industrial Research and Development Centre (MVIRDC). MVIRDC’s prime objective was to conduct research and development and its ancillary objective is establishment of WTCs in India and abroad.
From there on WTC Mumbai continues to be a living testimony with a promise to excel and go beyond in every field and to take on the challenges of the future.