On investment, theres no match for us, says Gujarat

Written by Jyotsna Bhatnagar | Rishi Raj | Gandhinagar | Updated: Jan 13 2013, 07:39am hrs
The Gujarat government on Saturday struck back at detractors of Vibrant Gujarat who have claimed that as little as a fifth of the investment promised at the biennial jamboree has translated to actual investments.

No unit which had signed an MoU with us has moved to any other state. Show me one unit which has not been able to start because of the state governments fault, challenged Saurabh Patel, Gujarats cabinet minister for energy, petroleum & petrochemicals, tourism and industries in an exclusive interview.

Patel said if any project has not taken off, it was because due to lack of environmental clearances from the Centre, inability to get finance or financial problems at the company concerned. Pointing to SEZ projects stuck in Gujarat after the change in central policy, Patel said: Recently, even Reliance denotified almost 40% of its SEZ because it was no longer viable for them.

Our ratio of turning MoUs into tangible projects is higher than every state and the national average, Patel claimed.

About Gujarat selling some land allotted to Peugeot because it could not pay up, Patel said the multinational automaker had informed them that it was facing problems globally and was not in a position to invest at this stage.

Peugeot may go ahead once it recovers. The delay and rescheduling are not because we failed on any count, Patel asserted. He attributed the industrys preference for Gujarat to the governments practice of resolving issues on a one-to-one basis. When Maruti showed interest to set up a plant here, they had so much confidence in us that they told us to just let them know our policies and they would set up the unit here, he added.

Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava had said on Friday that the pace at which the government cleared their proposals at each stage was faster than what they had heard about the state.

On countering and pre-empting labour trouble, Patel said the government tells unions that they are wrong if it felt the fault is theirs.

During last years GM strike, we told them: See your salary levels and if anybody else can match it, continue the strike. The union immediately understood their fault and withdrew their agitation, Patel said. On textile workers two-month agitation last year, Patel said the government backed unions to the hilt, sending out a strong message to owners to discontinue their exploitative policies.

Patel said that for smooth labour relations, the government had embarked on creating skill development centres on a PPP basis. This also ensures a steady flow of workforce in accordance with the requirements of specific industries, he elucidated.

Patel also credited the states land acquisition policy. To date, the government has not acquired a single piece of land for the private sector. We acquire land only to set up our industrial development centres under the umbrella of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation and the terms of acquisition of this land too are extremely lucrative for farmers, the minister elaborated.

He said Gujarats investment climate was so attractive for investors that all the state government was doing now was concentrating on the intention to invest rather than signing MoUs. We are giving certificates to those evincing interest in investing from now on and are sure that more and more people will come and set up units in Gujarat in the coming years.