Gujarat summit 2015: the diplomacy of business

For the first time in its 10-year history, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015, which opens on Sunday, will be used as a stage for business-related diplomacy with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attending the high-profile event.

Started as a brainchild of Mr. Modi in 2003, the biennial event has been steadily rising in stature with every edition. The seventh edition of the three-day Summit, is set to get grander in terms of the sheer number of participants and the guests involved.

This year’s event will see eight countries, Canada, Japan, China, Australia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa and the U.S. partnering with the State. With aggressive campaigning, the government expects participation from over 2,000 companies, two million-plus visitors and over 2,500 international delegates.

In the last six Vibrant Gujarat Summits, the States signed MoUs worth Rs. 48 lakh crore. However, the investment generated has been way below the intention expressed in these summits.

The summit will have a series of seminars on various themes, prominently Mr. Modi’s pet project of smart cities and Gujarat’s potential as a Defence production hub. Other areas include water security, health, sustainable energy, innovation and technology and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

However, amid the tall claims of the government and the huge figures of MoUs signed at every Summit, questions are getting louder about the actual impact of the event on the ground.

As per the figures collated by the Opposition Congress, a total of 17,719 MoUs were signed in the last six Summits from 2003 to 2013. The total worth of these MoUs was Rs. 39.6 lakh crore. However, only 9.14 per cent of these intentions have materialised into actual investment.

“The focus of the event has always been big business. Figures are bloated and do not present the reality. The State is using public money to host industrialists. Even without the Summit, Gujarat attracted 25 per cent of the investment pie of the country,” former Congress president Siddharth Patel said at a press conference here on Saturday.

The government’s own data reveals the chasm between their claims and the reality. The State’s Socio-Economic Review 2013-14, claims that projects commissioned and under implementation constitute 57.40 per cent of the investment intentions of Vibrant Gujarat 2003 to 2011, as on March 31, 2014.

But, according to the ‘Industries in Gujarat (Statistical Information) 2013’ by Industries Commiserate, investment in large-scale projects, between 30 years from 1983 to 2013 is worth Rs. 10 lakh crore. The investment in commissioned projects was Rs. 2.38 lakh crore and for projects under implementation was Rs. 8.21 lakh crore. Investment in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) from 2006 to 2013 has been Rs. 63,000 crore.

No live telecast

Principal Correspondent reports:

Ahmedabad: In a last-minute decision, the government of Gujarat, which is hosting the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015, has decided against a live telecast of the Global CEO conclave — a crucial programme of the event.

“The meet will be held in camera. There is no live telecast,” Bhagyesh Jha, Director of Information, told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 5:22:51 AM |

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