Vibrant Gujarat Summit: PM Narendra Modi promises easy business; companies announce big investments

By: | Updated: January 11, 2015 7:10 PM

PM Narendra Modi promised to make India the 'easiest' destination to do business with a stable tax regime and a predictable, transparent and fair policy environment.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Narendra Modi, Anandiben PatelPrime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat. (Reuters)

Big corporates – including Ambanis, Adanis and Birlas as also Suzuki and Rio Tinto from abroad – today committed to investing over Rs 1.6 lakh crore and creating more than 50,000 jobs, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to make India the ‘easiest’ place to do business with a stable policy and tax regime.

Modi also promised “truly unlimited” development across sectors and regions, while business leaders lined up huge investment commitments and signed MoUs across sectors on the first day of three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit here.

Taking the lead, billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Industries would invest Rs 1 lakh crore over the next 12-18 months across businesses.

Adani group signed an MoU for setting up a solar park in Gujarat in partnership with US-based SunEdison at an investment of USD four billion (about Rs 25,000 crore), while creating 20,000 jobs. Adani group also signed an agreement with Australian energy major Woodside.

Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla also announced Rs 20,000 crore investment in the state in cement and other businesses.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Narendra Modi, Anandiben PatelPrime Minister, Narendra Modi with Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, and Governor of Gujarat, O.P. Kohli and other dignitaries at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2015 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Sunday. (PTI)

Among foreign companies, Australian mining giant Rio Tinto’s CEO Sam Walsh said the group would add 30,000 jobs in diamond cutting industry in Gujarat, adding that entire Australia is looking forward to the state as a promising business destination.

Japanese auto major Suzuki’s Chairman Osamu Suzuki said its new car manufacturing unit in Gujarat, being set up at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore, will be ready by 2017.

Diversified Kalyani Group also said it will invest Rs 600 crore for upgradation and overhaul of Armoured Fighting Vehicles unit at Dholera, Gujarat, while Welspun Renewables announced an investment of Rs 8,300 crore to set up about 1,000 MW solar and wind capacities in the state.

After inaugurating the seventh edition of this biennial global business summit, conceived in 2003 during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a predictable and fair policy environment and stable tax regime and assured the global community that India would be the “easiest” place to do business.

“Since day one, my government is actively working to revive the economy. My government is committed to creating a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair,” he told an audience comprising US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and top global and domestic CEOs.

Modi, who assumed office as Prime Minister in May last year after BJP stormed to power with a huge mandate, said that the atmosphere of “despair and uncertainty” has gone away within a very short span of seven months.

The government will “hold your hands whenever needed…If you walk one step, we will walk two steps for you,” he said.

Seeking to address concerns of investors, Modi said, “We are trying to complete the circle of economic reforms speedily. We are also keen to see that our policies are predictable,” he said, while adding that tax regime would be made stable.

He also brushed aside the criticism that nothing was happening on the ground by stressing that “we are not only making commitments and announcements. We are also backing them up with concrete action.”

Vibrant Gujarat Summits (VGS) have always seen huge investment commitments to the tune of billions of dollars by business leaders from India and abroad.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the VGS has become the country’s “principle economic summit” and other states, including Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have begun organising summits events.

vibrant gujarat 2015, vibrant gujarat summit 2015, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi news, Ban ki MoonPM Narendra Modi promised to make India the “easiest” destination to do business with a stable tax regime and a predictable, transparent and fair policy environment. (Twitter)

At the recently held Bengal Business Summit, investment commitment worth Rs 2.43 crore were announced.

On the first day of the VGS 2015, various leaders and experts from across the world also called for greater reforms in the country.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who was also present, said tax and subsidy reforms are essential for inclusive growth in India, while he also warned against problems like an “enduring” bias on caste and other basis.

At the same time, he said that India remains the only bright spot in an otherwise mediocre global economic outlook.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon lauded Indian government’s efforts in using more renewable energy, while US Secretary of State John Kerry said he is “highly inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.

US-India Business Council President and Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga said American investors want to be in India and he is here to bridge the gap between what can be done and what they are capable of doing.

“The world is awakening to the promise of a resurgent India,” he added.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said the state has become a global business hub and everyone would benefit from the summit.

Among major business leaders, Gautam Adani, Anil Ambani, Shashi Ruia, Sunil Mittal, Uday Kotak, Shikha Sharma, Adi Godrej, A M Naik, Arundhati Bhattacharya were also present.

Mukesh Ambani invited the companies from across the world to invest in the state, while Birla said, “We have a personal bias for Gujarat and our ambitions are woven with the state.”

Singaporean Minister S Iswaran said, “Singapore companies have strong commercial interests in Gujarat,” while British Trade and Development Minister Lord Livingston said they will open a new deputy High Commission in Gujarat in a few weeks.

Netherlands’ Foreign Trade Minister Simon Smits said India should focus not only on ‘Make on India’, but also on ‘Research and Design In India’.

Macedonia Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed interest for collaboration and mutual economic empowerment for the countries.

Modi said “people from more than 100 countries have gathered here under one roof” for this summit.

Showering fulsome praise on Modi and on Gujarat, Kerry said that “Gujarat has become synonymous with possibilities, change and energy”.

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