The Confederation of Indian Industry – Charting Change through Development

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a premier business organization in India that plays a key role in the development and growth trajectory of the country. Set up in 1895, CII acts as a catalyst in nation building through the development of Indian Industry and facilitates a collaborative and conducive environment. Its central mantra is partnership with diverse stakeholders, including Government, industry, civil society, academia and the citizen at large.

CII works regularly with the Government on policy issues and interfaces with thought leaders for increasing efficiency and competitiveness of Indian industries through a range of specialized services and activities. In addition, through its various initiatives, CII enables inclusive development by addressing diverse sectors such as healthcare, education, livelihood, skill development, women empowerment, water, among others.

CII presently has around 9,000 members from both private and public sectors which include SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of around 300,000 enterprises from around 265 national and regional sectoral associations. To support members as a key goal, it offers a comprehensive spectrum of advisory and consultative services as well as business development opportunities which enable them to expand their horizons in line with their dreams and aspirations.

Today, with a network of 65 offices in India, 11 overseas offices and institutional partnerships with 355 counterpart organizations in 126 countries, CII serves as the nodal point of reference for Industry and the international business community.

History of CII

Established in 1895, the journey of CII, from a small engineering organization to the apex industrial body of India is an inspiring story of leadership, innovation and passion. It reflects the overall industrial development of the country from nascent industrialization to an economic powerhouse as the world’s fastest growing economy today.

In 1895, five engineering firms affiliated to Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry joined hands to form the Engineering and Iron Trades Association (EITA) in Calcutta (now Kolkata). The goal was to request the colonial Government to purchase engineering goods locally rather than import these from the UK.

In 1912, as the first Indian steel plant set up by the then Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO, now Tata Steel) started operations, the engineering association became the Indian Engineering Association (IEA), concentrating on manufacturing activities.

In a separate development, as the Indian engineering industry expanded with more and more smaller players, the Engineering Association of India (EAI) was formed in 1942, as an affiliate of the Indian Chamber of Commerce. This represented the interests of smaller Indian engineering firms.

In 1974, IEA and EAI merged into a single organization and came to be known as the Association of Indian Engineering Industry (AIEI). This development was bold and unprecedented as it was a unification of firms with overseas ownership as well as indigenous firms with very different operational cultures.  The new entity undertook many innovative initiatives that were unknown in the then Indian industry firmament, such as organizing the first Indian Engineering Trade Fair in 1975 and taking business delegates overseas.


Feeling the need for greater consolidation and solidarity that would put the industry on a stronger footing, AIEI was restructured as Confederation of Engineering Industry (CEI) in 1986.

As India undertook its bold liberalization movement in 1991, CEI was changed to Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 1992. As a progressive organization of its times, CII supported reform policies and assisted Indian enterprises industry to restructure to meet the challenges of a liberal economy.

CII now opened to the entry of enterprises in all manufacturing and services sectors and since then has rapidly expanded to be the most visible business association in India.

Areas of Work

CII’s service portfolio comprises of the four main pillars of (i) policy advocacy, (ii) providing competitive solutions while nurturing competitiveness, (iii) international and business development services and (iv) connecting with society.

Policy Advocacy

CII proactively engages with the Government towards policy formulation for industry, represents members’ concerns with the Government, organizes sessions on policy and procedural issues, and hosts investment summits both nationally and internationally, among others.

In its policy advocacy work, CII’s committees composed of industry members and other stakeholders work as ‘Think Tanks’ on important policy matters, making recommendations and regularly preparing research reports and publications. CII has close to 600 such Councils, Committees, Task Forces and Forums working on national and sectoral issues for providing inputs and member views to Central and State Governments.

Competitive Solutions

An innovative move, CII has set up dedicated institutes or CII Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for focusing on competitiveness through training, consulting and research. Currently, there are nine CoEs which provide special services to industry across areas such as quality management, energy efficiency, and water management and so on. These enable firms to lower costs and become more productive.


The CoEs carry out diverse activities including identifying best practices and adopting world class standards to build leadership, strategy and sustainability, for example, adoption of clean technology and management, enhancing energy efficiency, water conservation, fostering green practices and businesses, among others. These have provided new skills to several thousand specialists and impacted hundreds of enterprises.

Business Development Services & International work

CII offers immense opportunity for business development to enterprises through its comprehensive services. In this context, CII engages in business forecasting, trend analysis and prepares vision documents for its members regularly.

CII also organizes numerous national and international trade fairs, inward and outward trade and business missions, major conferences and seminars as well as international and national buyers and sellers meets and pre-tender meetings with Government agencies. These provide opportunities for enterprises to expand their business.

Some of the major events and conferences organized regularly by CII include the International Engineering and Technology Fair (IETF), Global Exhibition of Services, EXCON, Auto Expo, International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME), International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE), Agro Tech and CII Partnership Summit, among others. These platforms provide an opportunity for policymakers, industry leaders, academics, investors and entrepreneurs, to interact and exchange ideas and strengthen partnership between industries in India and across the world.

In addition, CII does extensive work to assist enterprises to build up technology infusion, innovation, and R&D, including by linking them to academia and supporting doctoral students.

CII’s objective in its international work is to connect Indian Industry with multiple stakeholders across the globe while also highlighting India’s position as a stable and dependent partner. CII’s international work constitutes of working closely with the Indian Government for creating policies conducive to the trade and development procedures in India, identifying best practices and creating access to foreign markets.


CII’s international activities include facilitating technology transfers, relationship building through multilateral processes and creating B2B and B2G platforms and showcasing India’s potential through various international trade fairs.


To carry out its international work, CII works closely with various international institutions, overseas Indian embassies and foreign embassies in India.


Connecting with Society

Recognizing the imperative of empowering economically and socially challenged groups and their social transformation, CII undertakes a series of focused interventions to ensure their inclusive and social development through corporate engagement.

The CII Foundation was established in 2011 with the vision of enabling industry to infuse inclusive development. The Foundation provides a meaningful bridge between marginalized communities and donors, specially the corporate sector.

The core areas of intervention include CSR and ethical conduct, public health, skill development, affirmative action, women empowerment, people with disabilities and disaster management.

Special and New Membership Initiatives

With the objective of all round development of the nation, CII is also actively involved in providing platforms for groups from different walks of life and specific sectors through several initiatives.

CII reaches out to a vast number of students, aspiring entrepreneurs, young professionals, women and many others through initiatives such as Young Indians, Indian women Network, India @ 75, and CII Family Business Network, among others.

Some of the new membership initiatives include programs such as CII Startupreneurs Forum to provide support to budding entrepreneurs, Mentorship Programs for new CII members, etc.

CII’s Role in Nation Building

Since 1895, economic growth in India has witnessed many troughs and peaks while Indian Industry has evolved and transformed in a big way through these years. CII has played a critical role in this evolution and served as the primary point of reference for Indian Industry. CII will continue to lend its support in linking society and industry and building India through partnership.


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