Gujarat is a favoured investment destination: experts

Monday, 29 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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AHMEDABAD: Proximity to markets for selling products, availability of resources, good infrastructure and an official vision are some of the factors that make Gujarat a favoured destination for investment, analysts say.

"These are precisely what a businessman looks for while entering any area to set up a venture. Gujarat scores on all these counts," said Ravi Mohan, managing director of CRISIL, the leading credit rating agency in India.

"As much as 40 percent of the cargo traffic of India passes through Gujarat ports and 56 percent of these can reach 56 percent of the country's population thanks to good connectivity," Mohan told IANS.

Mohan is here to participate in the three-day Vibrant Gujarat global investors meet that began Sunday.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Secretary General Amit Mitra said the state offered good investment opportunities in about a dozen areas.

In a presentation before the participants, Mitra pointed out that Gujarat was the first to privatise ports.

"How will (Gujarat's 41) ports get connected? It (laying rail tracks to the port) is not on the Indian Railways' priority. This offers a good investment potential," Mitra said, adding that roads, power and industrial parks offered good opportunities too.

He complimented Gujarat for near-total rural electrification. But, referring to the huge investment potential in this area, asked: "The need for an additional 6,000 mw of power is being talked about. Where will it come from?"

While Mohan pitched in for agro-industries, saying that value addition in agriculture produce was only to the extent of eight percent as compared to 188 percent in Britain, Mitra drew the participants' attention to the opportunities in emerging areas.

These included areas like marine biotech, contract research and bioinformatics apart from textiles, petro-chemicals, pharmaceuticals and gems and jewellery, in which Gujarat has been traditionally strong.

Mitra also pointed to the huge potential offered by the healthcare industry.

"Gujarat has emerged as a good healthcare centre. It can develop further if medical insurance companies in the U.S. recognise and pay for healthcare taken in India," he said.

D. Rajgopal, principal secretary in the state government's department of industries, said Gujarat wanted to give entrepreneurs a feeling of comfort through its industrial policy.

"Our idea is to make the entrepreneur feel that this (Gujarat) is a place of certainty so that he is ready for taking the risk," Rajgopal said.

"Our chief minister (Narendra Modi) has made it clear that our government believes in governing the least. We are not into the business of business," he said.

Referring to the industrial policy announced during the run-up to the three-day event, Rajgopal said the state government wanted to empower the entrepreneur by "empowering" the 182 industrial estates functioning in the state.

"Gujarat is bringing about reforms in labour laws. The rules and procedures are being simplified and laws relating to special economic zones and industrial parks have been made flexible so that labour could be engaged and disengaged easily."
Source: IANS
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