“…I had not realized …how great a part has been played by the [Bombay] Chamber in the history of Bombay” – Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bombay – August 1937
The Chamber was founded in 1836 by seven Britishers and three Parsees “to encourage a friendly feeling and unanimity among commercial men on all subjects involving the common good, to promote and protect the general mercantile interests of this [Bombay] Presidency, to collect and classify information on all matters of general mercantile interest, to obtain the removal … of all acknowledged grievances…” In those days there was an entrance fee of Rs 150 and a monthly subscription of Rs 20. Other objects and duties included simplification and facilitation of business practices, communication with public authorities on all matters of mercantile interest and to carry out arbitration of disputes among members.
Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one of the oldest Chambers in the Country. Bombay Chamber has an illustrious history of 184 years. It is registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Section 25 of The Companies Act, 1956) a non profit organisation. Chamber has played a significant role in the development of the city. It was largely responsible for the first railway built in India-The Bombay-Thana railway completed in 1853, has representation on the Port Trust, relentless advocacy postal system led to the passing of the India Postage Act of 1854 and standardization of weights and measures, until in 1932, set up machinery for arbitration of commercial disputes in 1880, Established customs of trade.
The Chamber has initiated several practices like making a detailed Presidential address at annual meetings October 1870, presentation of Accounts in a published form 1860-61, have its annual accounts audited by a professional firm of auditors in 1881-82.
The Chamber’s Unique Selling Point, is the intellectual capital inherent in its membership which focuses in “Giving rather than Asking”, along with the Thought Leadership. The Chamber currently has few thousand members, including a large number of SME’s, most reputed large and medium, professionally managed, corporate manufacturing and commercial companies, financial institutions, multinationals, public sector companies, auditors, architects and chartered accountants who together contribute a significant portion of India’s trillion dollar economy. The Chamber provides a forum for interaction of its members and formation of considered industry opinions and viewpoints. These are done under the aegis of the Managing Committee of the Chamber and Expert Committees.
The Chamber has played a significant role in supporting the development of industries in Mumbai over the last several decades. The Chamber serves as an effective vehicle of communication between the regulatory bodies, the corporate and the society. It collaborates with other Industry associations and thus increases its reach to the decision makers beyond boundaries of Mumbai. It also supports a large base of Micro Small and Medium enterprise members and contributes effectively towards overall development of its member companies by addressing core issues and remaining responsive to the needs of business.
The Chamber provides services to its members through dissemination of information, publications, special studies and through activities like organizing business delegations, seminars and training programmes. The Chamber also provides labor advisory services for its members. Other services include visa facilitation services to its members and issue of non-preferential certificates of origin.
Over the past few years the Bombay Chamber has moved somewhat from the traditional role of advocacy with Government and facilitating trade and Industry to play a larger role of “Corporate as a Citizen”. Bombay Chamber is also concentrating on promoting good Governance and ethical conduct in business and public life towards the greater good of Society encompassing promotion of skills training, arts and culture, in addition to ensuring equitable and balanced industrial growth in a sustainable manner.
The Chamber is working towards establishing an Arts and Crafts Centre (WADA) in Worli in Partnership with the MCGM and the State Government, on performing arts, the Chamber initiated the Kala Ghoda Festival, engagement with education sector to make a Centre of Excellence at the ITI Project in Bhokar, Nanded.
“We beg to intimate to you for the information of the Right Hon’ble the Governor in Council, that at a numerous meeting of the Mercantile Community assembled on 22nd instant, it was unanimously resolved to establish a Society, for the promotion and protection of Trade and other objects, under the designation of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce…”