Lower on FDI ladder, state looks to scale up investments through Vibrant Summit

Of the 12 countries who have been invited by the state government, the top FDI contributors — UK, Japan, USA, the Netherlands and France — have agreed to become partner countries for Vibrant Gujarat to be held in 2017

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published:October 6, 2016 5:11 am

Having slipped on the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ladder in comparison to competing states, Gujarat is now gearing up for a fresh wave of investments after five of India’s top 10 FDI investors have confirmed to partner with the state during the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, 2017.

Of the 12 countries who have been invited by the state government, the top FDI contributors — UK, Japan, USA, the Netherlands and France — have agreed to become partner countries for Vibrant Gujarat that will be held from January 10-13, 2017, and will see the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to the data from the Union Government’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), these five countries together account for over Rs 72,000 crore of FDI equity inflows during the year 2015-16.

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Canada, Poland and Malaysia are the other three countries who have agreed to be the partner countries for the event. “While inviting countries to be partners, the state government has been careful to toe the foreign policy that is being currently followed in Delhi. India has good relations with all these countries and we have invited only those countries to be our partners who are either looking to invest in Gujarat or anywhere else in India. We are happy to offer a platform,” said a senior official of the state government requesting anonymity.

“Being partner countries, these nations will bring large business delegations that will be focused on investing in India. Some of them will also be bringing ministerial-level delegations,” the official added.

Singapore, Germany, UAE and Malaysia are the four countries who are yet to confirm on partnering with the state. Singapore alone accounted for Rs 89,500 crore of FDI equity inflows during 2015-16. Similarly, Germany and UAE also fall in the list of India’s top 10 FDI contributors and are being seen as crucial for Gujarat.

Though China is a not a large investor in the state, Gujarat government will be touring the dragon country despite India’s relations with China not being so strong. “A delegation from Gujarat will visit China from October 17-28 to scout for possible investments, especially in the manufacturing sector,” the official added.

“The economic policies followed by Modi and other chief ministers after him have been more or less the same. The last couple of years have seen low industrial growth. Industrial investments have been on a wane and agriculture growth also got hit due to poor monsoon. Gujarat government did offer more incentives in the last couple of years than the time when Modi was around. But it was nothing more than a stimulus that the state needed when industrial growth was seeing a decline even nationally,” said Y K Alagh, a leading economist and professor emeritus at Ahmedabad-based Sardar Patel Institute of Social and Economic Research, told The Indian Express recently.

Gujarat without Modi at the helm has continued to shine in the eyes of foreign investors. The state has managed to almost triple its FDI equity inflows from Rs 5,282 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 14,667 crore in 2015-16.

Bhagyesh Soneji, chairperson of Assocham (Gujarat Council), also feels that chief ministers who came after Modi have carried forward his economic policies. “During Modi’s rule, the hidden success story of Gujarat was marketed to the world.”

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