Of the total Rs 2.44 lakh crore of industrial investments that have flowed into Gujarat during the last five years, 75 per cent have been given to just four districts of Ahmedabad, Kutch, Surat, and Bharuch. Gujarat government figures show during the period between 2013-18, there are districts like Junagadh that have seen zero investments.
Data tabled by the Gujarat government in the Gujarat assembly in response to an unstarred question asked by Bhavesh Katara, a Congress MLA from Jhalod constituency of Dahod district reveals that a total of Rs 2,44,699 crore of investments flowed into 29 districts of Gujarat through 1,718 industrial projects between July 2013 and June 2018. During this period, the annual investments in the state grew at an impressive 123 per cent, from Rs 25,436 crore in July 2013-June 2014 to Rs 56,837 crore in July 2017-June 2018.
A phenomenal 75 per cent of the total investments have made their way into just four districts. Ahmedabad with an investment of Rs 69,384 crore in 350 projects tops all the 33 districts of the state, accounting for 28 per cent of the total investments made in these five years. Kutch follows with Rs 52,759 crore in 133 projects. The districts of Surat with Rs 33,285 crore in 209 projects, Bharuch Rs 30,073 cr in 211 projects, Panchmahal Rs 10,525 cr in 43 projects, Morbi Rs 10,031 crore in 227 projects and Vadodara Rs 9,347 cr in 127 projects, also received sizeable investments.
Junagadh has received zero investments in the past five years as have the districts of Porbandar, Chhota Udepur, Dahod, and Dangs, which do not figure on this list of districts where investments have been made. Districts having less than Rs 100 crore investments during this period were Navsari with Rs 52 crore in six projects, Mahisagar Rs 73 crore in one project and Narmada Rs 90 crore in one project.
Noted economist and Professor Emeritus of Ahmedabad-based Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research YK Alagh feels that there is an urgent need for policy intervention to make tribal districts on the eastern side of the state attractive to investments. “What we need to do is to make investments more attractive in the ‘purvi-patti’ (eastern belt of tribal districts) which extends from Dangs in the south to Banaskantha in the north. That is really the area where large-scale jobs are needed,” said Alagh, speaking to The Indian Express.
“The second thing we need to do is build up the infrastructure for world-class training because in many of the investments coming to Gujarat the employment goes to outsiders and that becomes a factor of resentment. A lot of these people will be coming to Gujarat from states that have invested more in education. For instance, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra,” he added.