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October - November 2005

Business Forum

Gujarat - A State for Entrepreneurial Skills

by P. Venkataramana

It is an established, time-tested fact that the State of Gujarat has provided several entrepreneurs, of varying hues and shades, categories and levels of business people, not only within its territorial boundary on the map but across the Globe. Tales umpteen galore about their business-sense, acumen and zeal for industrial enterprise. In this section we shall proceed to examine as to what is on offer by the State Government of Gujarat by way of Investment Opportunities.

A long coastline of 1600kms dotted with 41 ports (1 major, 11 intermediate and 29 minor ports) makes it a delight for those in the Shipping & Harbor–related fields. India’s first private-sector ports, Pipavav and Mundra are already in operation. A liquid-cargo (chemicals) handling port Dahej is also set up in the joint-sector and has become operational.

An excellent road network, exceeding 74000 kms including the Ahmedabad-Baroda Expressway makes transportation effective, speedy and smooth on logistical-planning.

It has the largest number of Airports in India (11 including an International airport at Ahmedabad) and an extensive Railway- network connecting all major centers within the State as well as throughout the length & breadth of the country.

The world’s largest grass-root Petroleum Refinery is operational at Jamnagar while the State is the largest producer of Salt and Soda Ash in India.

Gujarat is one of the first few States in the country to have encouraged private-sector investment in Infrastructure-Development. A State having only five percent of India’s total population and sixteen percent of the country’s total investment, ten percent of expenditure sixteen percent of exports and thirty percent of Stock-market capitalization. In fact, a wide-range of areas is under offer for Investments to be made in the growth arenas of this part of India such as:

Tourism & Coastal Development
Ports & Port-based Development
Textiles & Apparel
Gems & Jewellery
Agro & Marine Industry
Energy, Gas & Petroleum
Bulk-drugs,Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals
Engineering & Automobiles
Mineral Industries
Financial Services
Urban Development

Establishment of Special Economic Zones is a forward-looking Policy of the Govt. of India, which has been adopted by Gujarat State. These SEZs are to be deemed foreign territory for tariff and trade operations. These are excellent engines for economic growth in this particular State, which has remained in the forefront of industrial development. The establishment of the first SEZ in the country has been approved in Gujarat and existing Free-Trade Zones have been converted into Special Economic Zones and are in operation in the State. The Central Government has offered various incentives and facilities both to the Developer of the SEZ as well as the industrial-units coming up in the SEZ .All kinds of units, be it manufacturing, trading or service activities are permitted in such zones – all approvals are to be given by the Development Commissioner for establishment of the unit in the SEZ and State Governments are required to offer specified facilities and concessions for promotion of units in the SEZs.

Availability of adequate Power is a major advantage for any investment-proposal in the State – for the curious reader, 17940 feasible villages out of a total of 18028 (per 1991 census figures) villages in Gujarat State have been electrified .A unique project undertaken by the State Government is the Kalpasar Project to generate electricity from tidal waves of the sea. Also, a 1500-kms long Gas-Grid is being laid and success has been reported in striking underground gas-reserves near Ahmedabad and elsewhere in the State.

Agriculture is not to be ignored: the major food crops in the State are Rice, Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Maize, Tur, Gram, Groundnut while major non-Food crops are Cotton and Tobacco while Animal Husbandry and Dairying play a vital role in the Rural economy of Gujarat .It comprises of 25 Districts for administrative purposes.

Important minerals in the State are Bauxite, Maganese ore, Limestone and Lignite.
Truly, an interesting destination for Overseas Corporate Bodies, NRI Investor groups and also to the Individual Investor hailing from any part of the world. The entrepreneurial skills of Gujarati Indians are legendary. In a nutshell, investing in Gujarat is bound to be a wise proposition…!!!
Note: Those desirous of exploring the avenues in Tourism, Infra-strucrure development, Agro & Food-processing, Health-care, SEZs, Industrial-Parks, Oil&Gas project, Wind-Farms & Alternate forms of Energy, Textile & Apparel or in 100 % export-oriented units in the State of Gujarat may contact the ILI Business Forum, c/o President/General Secretary

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