Modi government improvises on summit, to focus on SMEs
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Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's pet project, the biennial investor summit, slated to be held next week, has got a new avatar.
With big-ticket investments on the wane, thanks to a world economy in recession, Modi has rechristened the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit (VGGIS) as the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show this year.
Speaking to FE, principal secretary, industries, Maheshwar Sahu said Gujarat will be projected as the ultimate destination for business-to-business and business-to-government interaction. "Gujarat has evolved over the years to become the global gateway for trading," he said. Not surprisingly, at a luncheon hosted for the media after his poll victory, Modi claimed that the "focus is on making Gujarat a global business hub".
More than 14 countries are expected to participate in the summit with Japan and Canada, partner countries since 2005, again opting for the same role. The Modi government is also making all-out efforts to ensure participation of a large number of states, which, at last count, stood at 21. Sahu said no 'big deals' would be announced at the summit this time. "That's because working on these deals is a laborious process, which requires a lot of ground work. Further, no announcements can be made before approval of boards of large companies."
Reading between the lines, there will be no fireworks in terms of big-ticket deals between Gujarat government and corporates — both domestic and foreign.
Instead, SMEs are now the flavour of the season. "That's largely because these projects have a smaller gestation period, require lesser clearances and can be hand-held by the government,'' said Sahu.
As per statistics compiled by the state, over 50% of the total 8,380 projects commissioned during VGGIS 2011 have either been commissioned or are under implementation. However, Sahu hastened to add that it would not be fair to compare implementation of small projects with large ones, which required cumbersome procedures and a minimum gestation of seven years.
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