A day after Maharashtra pulled out all stops to position itself as the country’s most favourable industrial destination, its closest competitor Gujarat too wooed investors here highlighting top-notch infrastructure, vast industrial cities, and its lead in the ease of doing business index.
Gujarat promised to set up desks in five global cities — Frankfurt, Dubai, New York, Tokyo and Wenzhou — to attract foreign investors to Gujarat, and to unveil more policies offering incentives to mega industrial projects as well as small and medium enterprises.
“The Gujarati community is a global one. We have a large number of people from our state settled in other parts of the world. They are always ready to help in bringing investments to the state. We have decided to start foreign desks at Frankfurt, Dubai, New York, Tokyo and Wenzhou,” said Chief Minister Anandiben Patel while speaking at ‘Gujarat Investor Summit’ during the ongoing Make in India week in Mumbai.
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Patel said Gujarat was constantly looking to encourage new private industrial parks and special investment zones and that the state government had decided to create a special industrial park for women over 18 hectares in Sanand, and later Halol and Bharuch.
“ There are over six lakh medium and small enterprises in Gujarat creating jobs for 39 lakh people. Micro industries are growing at a 30 per cent rate and we want them to grow further. This sector is the backbone of our economy, so we will look at promoting and strengthening it,” she said.
Patel said her government has already provided an impetus to various industrial sectors in the state through its special policies for electronics, information technology tourism, films, and plastic industries.
Gujarat and Maharashtra, accounting for a little over a fifth of India’s Gross Domestic Product, have often contested the pecking order on foreign investments in the country. Recently, the Union government ranked Gujarat first on a World Bank-vetted index of “ease of doing business”, followed by Andhra Pradesh, with Maharashtra being a laggard at the eight position.
Gujarat’s investment seminar at the ‘Make in India’ week was much more modest than Maharashtra, held in a smaller hall and inviting just a handful of industry representatives from companies such as Zydus Cadila, Adani Ports, and Rasna International to speak about the state. In contrast, Maharashtra went all out to market the state, inviting industry stalwarts such as Ratan Tata, Sajjan Jindal, Baba Kalyani, and Pawan Goenka, and Union Ministers such as Piyush Goyal, Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Javadekar, and Suresh Prabhu to showcase the state to investors.
While Maharashtra unveiled five new policies and signed multi-crore Memoranda of Understanding at its seminar, Gujarat boasted of creating the country’s first International Financial Services Centre in GIFT City, and being the inspiration for the entire ‘Make in India’ week format.
Patel said Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat, had launched the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ investment summit in 2003, with the eighth chapter of the biennial investment seminar to be held in 2017. She added that the Gujarat government has so far converted 33 per cent of MoUs signed in the previous ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ seminar into actual investments.