Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra modi is keen on projecting growth with a human touch. This is why he took pains to point out that his focus would be on “spiritual humanism, Gandhian legacies, tolerance, justice and compassion,” which he claimed were the drivers behind his investment efforts. Modi is also a well-known planner and an agent of change.
Over 2700 MoUs worth over Rs. 15 lakh crore were inked in just one day in Gujarat as part of the fifth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global In-vestors’ Summit on January 12. That is a record and has made other states gawk in wonder and envy.
Many have attributed this to Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “magic.” Well, what exactly is this magic?
Modi has the knack and ability to cut through a maze of red tape and fast-track projects. Gujarat’s system of single-window clearance for big ticket projects in a stipulated time frame has been able to attract major industries. And these projects are cleared by the Chief Minister personally.
As Ratan Tata recalled in his speech at the summit: Gujarat government took only three days to assure him land in Sanand to shift the (Nano) plant from Singur.
While other governments like Karnataka and Chattisgarh sent out bland invites when Tata ran into trouble at Singur, Modi went a step further by identifying the land for the projects and clearing the same in three days.
One is reminded of Nara Chandrababu Naidu when he was the “CEO” of Andhra Pradesh. He had also fast-tracked projects clearing them overnight through telephonic calls or fax messages. That is how he was able to snatch the International School of Business from Mumbai, upsetting Bal Thackeray.
But while Naidu attracted investments to Hyderabad, Modi is able to spread the meal across Gujarat. That is his second strength. Porban-dar, Kutch, and Junagarh are the new and prosperous regions of the state. A Special Investment Region (SIR) is coming up in Dholera and will house India’s first city developed on a public-private partnership model.
The Gujarat Industrial Development Board is working over-time to ready the area for development works. The area is known for issues like water logging and loose soil. And for this the Gujarat government has sought scientific inputs rather than entrusting the work to a disinterested PWD.
Such is the pace of development in these areas that SIR, associated Special Economic Zones and DMIC put together bagged 12 MoUs with an investment commitment worth Rs. 1.39 lakh crore and would generate an estimated 129,000 jobs.
Tatas have announced a total investment on ground worth Rs. 30,000 crore and would employ 50,000 people in Gujarat and will indirectly employ several more.
States like Karnataka too have plenty of land to offer. And when B.S. Yeddyurappa took over as Chief Minister of Karnataka, he promised to usher in the Modi model. But instead of assigning land to industrialists, he allotted them to his sons and relatives.
The next big asset is that Modi does not bank on statistics alone. He does not feed investors with numbers that can be either astounding or confounding.
As Anand Mahindra, vice chairman of the Mahindra Group, said: “What struck me was when Modi’s team made the presentation of the event was they did not quote the usual statistics — GDP growth and the like. They began with the improvement in the infant mortality rate, girl child education… that’s what caught my attention. We will sign about six MoUs of Rs. 3,000 crore which will have Rs. 11,000 crore multiplier investment and creating 1,00,000 jobs.”
In a way, Modi is laying the industrial turf for the future by keeping an educated and vibrant workforce ready for industries that are keen on investing in the state. As he put it in his opening remarks at the summit: “Gujarat offers the best infrastructure. Labor problems are zero and there is an abundance of critical drivers.”
Modi is also keen on projecting growth with a human touch. This is why he took pains to point out that his focus would be on “spiritual humanism, Gandhian legacies, tolerance, justice and compassion,” which he claimed were the drivers behind his investment efforts.
“This is an attempt to unite all those, who are concerned about the well-being of humanity and want to evolve new parameters for human welfare on a sustainable basis,” he said. He also took care to mention his commitment to battling the threat of climate change, referring to “my latest book on climate change. Al Gore (former US Vice-President) wrote about the Inconvenient Truth, but I am giving you the solution, Convenient Action,” he said.
In a nutshell, Modi is looking at balanced growth and not rapid industrialization.
Modi is also a well-known planner and an agent of change.