What Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit ’24 achieved: The big takeaways

  • Kunvarji Realty
  • 18/01/2024

What Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit ’24 achieved: The big takeaways

Source: India Today

The Gujarat government’s flagship biannual three-day business conclave, Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2024, concluded last week in Gandhinagar with memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 26 lakh crore signed, while in the run-up to the event, the government said it had signed MoUs worth Rs 7.18 lakh crore. Releasing details of MoUs signed between 2019 and 2024, when VGGS was not held due to the Covid pandemic, the total MoUs notch up to the highest ever of Rs 45.2 lakh crore.

Even as preparations for the event had started nine months ago with curtain-raiser conferences and roadshows across the globe and the country, the finale in the state’s capital, inaugurated and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was designed as a high-octane event.

Started by Modi as Gujarat chief minister in 2003, the 10th edition of the summit has come a long way since its inception, where it was positioned as ‘Re-establishing Gujarat as an investment destination’. In keeping with its legacy of the past two decades, when Modi shared the stage with top honchos of India Inc. and several heads of state, the latest event also had four heads of state present—president of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as chief guest, prime minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala, Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi and president of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta.

The latest edition, held after a gap of four years, was positioned as ‘Gateway to the future’, with a lot of discussion around new-age industries that will shape the world in the coming years. Four key takeaways from VGGS 2024:

The renewable energy sector bagged contracts worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd signed an MoU worth Rs 70,000 crore to set up 10,000 MW of hybrid renewable energy projects in Khavda in Kutch, Dholera and Banaskantha. Big names like Serentica Renewables, Solairedirect Energy, Opera Energy, Grew Energy and the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited itself have signed MoUs for developing renewable energy generation plants at different locations in the state.

NTPC Green Energy Limited has entered into MoUs with Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited (GSPC) and Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited for the blending of green hydrogen in the gas networks of GSPC and promotion of green hydrogen mobility by setting up green hydrogen fuelling stations in Gujarat. Reliance and Adani Groups reiterated their interests in setting up green energy infrastructure in the state. During his speech, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani spoke about the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex coming up in Jamnagar, while the Adani Group has announced the world’s largest renewable energy park in Kutch, which also found a mention in chairperson Gautam Adani’s speech at the inauguration ceremony.

The key question, however, is how the local populace will benefit in terms of employment with the setting up of these industries in the state. Addressing the media, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation vice-chairman and managing director Rahul Gupta said, “Eight MoUs have been signed for skilling of workforce for Industry 4.0.”\

“The green power cluster of 30,000 MW coming up in Gujarat is a huge opportunity for the semiconductor industry. For comparison, the world’s largest green power cluster capacity is 5,000-7,000 MW. The next million talents in the semiconductor industry will come from India. I request Micron to set up a Centre of Excellence with IIT Gandhinagar to help build the talent pipeline,” Vaishnav said, adding that given Gujarat’s policy offering incentives for semiconductor industry and the developing ecosystem, the state “should be the natural choice of investors”.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority first sovereign fund to set up base in GIFT City

GIFT City was one of the highlights of VGGS 2024, with several high profile conclaves and seminars hosted there. After the inauguration at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on January 10, PM Modi attended a closed-door meeting with global CEOs.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority announced it will set up base in GIFT City, becoming the first sovereign fund to announce its arrival in the showcase project. Among the about 10 new commitments is ONGC Videsh, which will set up its finance company for treasury operations; Wipro has applied for TechFin operations; the UAE-based Transworld Group signed a Rs 2,000 crore MoU for ship and aircraft leasing purposes; Accenture has also sent a proposal to set up an office at GIFT City.

Spreading to smaller centres of Gujarat

Responding to industry demand of making the event more inclusive for micro and small scale local industries, roadshows and curtain-raiser industry conferences were held in smaller urban and rurban centres, making the small-scale industries based in towns a part of this high-profile government event. According to S.J. Haider, additional chief secretary, industries and mines department, Gujarat, MoUs worth Rs 35,000 crore were signed during these smaller conferences and roadshows, generating employment opportunities of over 175,000.

Power play

The stage at VGGS had gained prominence for its not-so-subtle power play of international dignitaries and top honchos of India Inc. At the 2015 VGGS, held six months after Modi became prime minister, then US secretary of state John Kerry had led a massive delegation to Gujarat.

As the summit matures, the power play is evolving. The cat was set among the pigeons when government officials let out that Tesla CEO Elon Musk would attend VGGS, a few weeks ahead of the event; as also speculation mounted that the company might announce the setting up of its first EV manufacturing unit of India in Gujarat. State industries minister Balwantsinh Rajput admitted in a presser that Tesla “is in the pipeline”, but neither showed up at the event.

The chief guest of the event, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, delivered a crisp speech during his limited time at the venue. A grand stage dotted with dozens of high profile persons of eminence praising Modi as an able administrator and leader was replaced with a glitzy stage with multiple screens and a solitary podium where speakers walked up to deliver their speech. Industry stalwarts like Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, N. Chandrasekaran, ArcelorMittal’s Laxmi Mittal, Toshihiro Suzuki, CEO of Suzuki Motor, CEO of AP Moller Terminals Keith Svendsen, and CEO of Micron Technologies Sanjay Mehrotra headlined the event.

Some 61,000 delegates from 140 countries participated in the event, with 35 countries as partners and 132,000 individual registrations for participation. The ongoing international turbulence reflected on the VGGS stage. Canada, among the first and a longstanding VGGS partner, was missing this time. Though Russia and Ukraine were among the partner countries, another longstanding partner Israel was absent. Industry bodies like the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber and Canada-India Foundation represented the diaspora keen to do business with India.

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