Countdown begins for Vibrant Gujarat summit; all eyes on GIFT City, DREAM City, Dholera and Musk

  • Kunvarji Realty
  • 03/01/2024
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Countdown begins for Vibrant Gujarat summit; all eyes on GIFT City, DREAM City, Dholera and Musk

Source: The Indian Express

The Gujarat government will straight get to business as the new year sets in with the state all set to host the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) from January 10.

The excitement is palpable this year as the government will get to showcase three smart city projects — the Gujarat Industrial Finance Tec-City (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar, the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City in Surat, and Dholera of Ahmedabad district.

With senior government officials not ruling out possibilities of Tesla Group CEO Elon Musk’s participation at the event, all eyes are on the biennial investment summit that will be held after a gap of five years this time. It will also be the first after the Covid pandemic.

Gujarat government spokesperson and senior minister Rushikesh Patel has indicated that talks are on with Musk to get Tesla to invest in the state. The government is “optimistic” about it, he said.

The three-day summit, which will conclude on January 12, will also see a shift from its focus on traditional sectors to emerging ones for a “first-mover advantage”. “So far, we used to focus on traditional or conventional sectors such as MSME, startups, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc. In the upcoming VGGS, apart from these sectors, we are also focusing on emerging sectors such as semiconductors, aircraft and related manufacturing, green hydrogen ecosystem, and space-related manufacturing. Given the potential of Gujarat, its ecosystem and the government’s proactiveness, if the state takes the right steps, we can have the first-mover advantage in these sectors. The state government is pursuing it seriously,” said Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation Vice-Chairman & Managing Director Rahul Gupta.

He assured that the state government is orienting its policies, infrastructure, and ecosystem in the said direction.

On the hard selling of ‘iconic projects’ like GIFT City, Dholera and DREAM City, Gupta told IE, “Earlier, we used to do it in bits and pieces. This time we are bringing them in one segment and focusing on it”.


GIFT City

GIFT City, which has always been a centrepiece of the summit, this year comes with two additional features to woo investors — the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), a unified regulator that was set up in April 2020, and the recent push for establishing a social infrastructure, an official said.

With the state government issuing a gazette notification bringing into effect an exemption from prohibition ban in GIFT City, the authority is moving towards bolstering the social infrastructure that will include a ‘GIFT Eye’ on the lines of the London Eye ((a cantilevered observation wheel on the bank of River Thames in London) that is likely to come up along the Sabarmati Riverfront.

“…our desire is to bring an attraction like the London Eye” which will be called ‘GIFT Eye’ in addition to food courts and other recreational zones, GIFT City chairman Hasmukh Adhia had said earlier this month. After it clocked in a revenue of USD 1 billion in the financial year 2022-23 and has set a target of USD 20-25 billion by FY30, Adhia had said that GIFT City has identified nearly 20 key opportunity areas across six sectors — banking, fund management, capital markets, insurance, GIC/GCC (Global In-House Centres/Global Capability Centres) and fintech.

He also termed Lilavati Hospital opening its facility in GIFT City as an “advantage”. While it may not directly translate to direct and immediate investment into GIFT City, the summit will facilitate global players, including those in the financial services sector, to make a detour to GIFT City to visit and evaluate the feasibility of establishing their businesses, says an official.

The official adds that while GIFT City is seeing expressions of interest from players in sectors such as “banking, foreign universities, and direct listing”, among others, it is part of “routine activity”.

Additionally, officials expect that with global players such as IBM and Bank of America setting up shops and the likes of Google lined up, more players would opt for GIFT City as it will give them “added confidence that things are working out well”.

In addition, Prime Minister Modi earlier this month also outlined some long-term focus areas, including as a channel for climate financing, aircraft and ship leasing, and as a fintech laboratory, where GIFT City can emerge as a leader.

At least 28 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Ghana, and Vietnam, have already confirmed their partnership for VGGS.

A partner country gets distinguished from other participating countries as they get certain benefits to promote industrial potential and opportunities in their countries at VGGS. They also get space free of cost by the Gujarat government to hold their country seminars during VGGS. A partner country also comes with a ministerial delegation to the summit.

“From a one-time event, the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit has become an institution,” tweeted the office of Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on December 29.

Incidentally, the last summit was held ahead of the 2019 general elections. The upcoming VGGS is also timed ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections where the BJP is pitching Modi for a third term as PM.


What is new?

Unlike previous editions, when the main events would be held in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, the government began holding Vibrant Gujarat events in various districts in an effort to ensure more participation. “A major change this time is that we are spreading the vibrancy of VGGS across the state. This time, if you see, all the pre-vibrant summits have been held in different cities. Not just Gandhinagar or Ahmedabad, but places like Anand, Bharuch, Morbi, Rajkot, and Kutch.”

“Vibrant Gujarat, Vibrant District again is an attempt to spread the vibrancy of VGGS in all the districts. Under that initiative, we bring industrialists, associations, chambers and stakeholders of a particular district on a single platform. It will give a concerned district a roadmap on how to go about in future. The local industry people will also know about opportunities, emerging trends in their sector, foreign markets, etc, ” Gupta explained.

As a result, several local industries also signed MoUs with the government under the Vibrant Gujarat, Vibrant District initiative.

The other new initiative this VGGS is the adoption of ‘MoU Plus’ approach. “We check land availability and techno-commercial feasibility of the project…Basically, our focus remains on increasing the implementation ratio of an MoU,” Gupta said. He added that it is not necessary that fulfilling these aspects is a must in every project.

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