The seventh edition of the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2015, the flagship event of the Gujarat government, will remain a Prime Minister Narendra Modi show with five-month-old Chief Minister Anandiben Patel set to play second fiddle to PM.
Modi, who as Gujarat CM conceptualised it to attract global investors to the state in 2003, is going to preside over its inauguration on January 11. With much of the ground work and preparations having been done by him before becoming the Prime Minister in May, the state ministers and officials in-charge of the event here, are more in touch with the PMO than the Chief Minister’s Office. Anandiben’s brief does not even include a foreign trip.
The event is set to see the biggest ever international participation – in terms of partner countries as well as the presence of the CEOs of the international companies for the first time.
Sources in the CMO confirmed that, “No foreign trips have been scheduled for the CM to seek investment under VGGIS.” Modi will take the centrestage with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in his home state. And recently, the investment talks in Gujarat with two economic giants – Japan and China – were also led by Modi.
Investment possibilities in Gujarat were also discussed by the PM during his recent trip to Japan this year. And, as Chinese President Xi Jinping began his India tour in September with Ahmedabad, business ties with this economical giant too were led by Modi as the two signed up for establishing an industrial park near Vadodara. Significantly, there was no one-to-one meeting between Jinping and Patel. Japan had pledged to open a bank branch in Ahmedabad and funding for Ahmedabad Metro. Besides, Modi also personally met the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies, who have been invited to VGGIS 2015, during his maiden US trip in September, as PM.
Saurabh Patel, Finance, Energy and Petrochemicals Minister and in-charge of the core committee for VGGIS 2015, has made at least five trips to Delhi, along with then industry secretary D J Pandian, since September to brief the PM on developments related to the VGGIS. The duo on October 31 also, a day after Pandian was promoted to Chief Secretary, met Modi to discuss preparations of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which will be held prior to investment summit.
It was the overseas tours by Modi that made other countries join as partners in the event. Unlike Modi, who, before VGGIS 2013, had travelled to Japan and China to attract investments, Anandiben Patel mainly focussed on Delhi and Mumbai. In the sixth edition of the VGGIS 2013, many foreign countries for the first time became partners. “Modi’s trip to Japan in 2012, with a delegation of industry captains, was highly successful. The result was for the first time big economic power like Japan became partner of the VGGIS 2013 and got truly international tag. And, then Canada had also come on board,” commented a top official from the industry department.
Formalities for making seven countries — the Great Britain, Japan, Canada, Holland, Australia, Singapore along with South Africa — partners were already in the final stage when Patel took over from Modi. Her office is now keeping silent on the proposal by the US on partnering the VGGIS 2015.
While the global consultant KPMG, the Knowledge Partner, responsible for global branding and overall organising the event had been hired in August 2013 itself, the core committees were formed in October 2013.
“From the very beginning the whole event was meticulously planned with keeping in mind that Modi might move to Delhi. Little wonder that the brief to KPMG was that not only to project Gujarat as the brand but as investment gateway of India and VGGIS as platform that would also help other states to forge ties with MNCs,” remarked a to official from the industry department.
Besides, invitation to CEOs of global companies were sent only when it was clear that not CM but it will be the PM leading the show, maintained sources.