With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday claimed that a total of 1,737 projects, worth Rs 1.66 lakh crore, for which MoUs (memorandum of understanding) were signed during the latest edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, have either been inaugurated or are under various stages of implementation within the first 45 days of holding the summit.
At a special post-Vibrant Gujarat ceremony held at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on Thursday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani released a booklet containing details of the projects signed during the ninth edition of the investors’s summit that was held in mid-January.
“When Vibrant Gujarat summit was held in January this year, we had announced that before March 30 we will inaugurate or begin works worth Rs 1.11 lakh crore. I am happy to announce that today works worth Rs 1.66 lakh crore have started. A booklet containing the details has been given openly (at the forum),” the Chief Minister said.
Why the govt is releasing report card
Being a crucial election year, an attempt has been made by the BJP government to come out with impressive investment figures within only 45 days of the completion of the summit which has been criticised widely for ineffectiveness in job creation and high percentage of scrapped MoUs. Though the status of jobs were not known, critics argue that larger projects attracted through these summits have failed to generate adequate number of jobs in the state. The release of the booklet is an endeavour of the government in this regard. Last month, Chief Minister Rupani, unlike his predecessor Narendra Modi, decided to hold a press meet on the summit. Though not many questions have been answered, it is imperative to be perceived as transparent in an election year.
Interestingly, over 30 per cent of these projects are residential and commercial projects of private real-estate developers.
After the end of the three-day biennial investment summit, the government had announced that it had signed 28,360 MoUs, which would generate over 21 lakh jobs.Of these total MoUS, 21,889 were in the MSME sector.
Speaking about the booklet, titled “Vibrant Era: Summits of Success”, Rupani said, “It contains details of projects, location and the status of implementation. It shows that we do what we talk about. It is also an appropriate answer to all the critics of Vibrant Gujarat.”
It is to be noted that there have been several criticisms of the success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summits. The Indian Express had earlier reported that the government’s own data showed that only 7.35 per cent of the total pledged investment in the renewable energy sector had fructified since the first edition in 2003.
However, with mounting criticisms, the Chief Minister, after the conclusion of the summit last month, had announced he would provide a report card on it.
An analysis of the booklet prepared by the Industries and Mines Department show that of the total 1,737 projects, the highest quantum of projects — over 32 per cent — is in the urban development sector. This sector has 558 projects worth Rs 41,917 crore. However, most of these projects are either residential or commercial projects belonging to private real estate developers and account for over 30 per cent of the total projects in terms of numbers that are shown as either “implemented” or are under “various stages of implementation”.
In terms of value, these real-estate projects account for 24 per cent (about Rs 40,000 crore) of the Rs 1.66 lakh crore.
Apart from housing and commercial projects, the Rs 850 crore new stadium being built at Motera in Ahmedabad is also one of the urban development projects. The report also mentions a few hotels, a couple of hospitals and flyover projects, mostly belonging to AUDA.
However, the highest quantum of investments are in the chemical, petrochemical and GIDC large projects bracket, where a total of 117 projects worth Rs 46,614 crore are in “various stages of implementation” or are “ready to be inaugurated”.
Of these 117 projects, nearly half of them are those producing chemical or chemical products. These chemical units are worth Rs 14,000 crore and form 8.4 per cent of the total Rs 1.66 lakh crore investment that has been made during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, 2019.
It also mentions that 834 projects, worth Rs 2,502 crore, belong to MSMEs.
However, the booklet does not mention the number of jobs that have been created or will be created thanks to these projects.
GIDC to set up Tech Hub at GIFT City
The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation will be setting up a Technology Hub at the GIFT City campus in Gandhinagar. At a post-Vibrant Gujarat event, 40 Information Technology companies signed MoUs with the state government in the presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. They are expected to begin operations at the hub and provide as many as 10,000 jobs. A local association of IT firms — GESIA IT Association — will be supporting the project.