Gujarat now wants to play a key role in shaping a New India, by providing international companies, investors and healthcare providers with a platform to enter the huge Indian market, a top state government official has said. Sharing his experience of interaction at various level in the US, Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary Arvind Agarwal said “there is a very great interest in ‘Ayushman Bharat’ – the India’s health-care insurance scheme.
“Gujarat now wants to play a key role in shaping a New India, by providing international companies, investors and health-care providers with a platform in the State to enter the huge Indian market,” he told PTI in an interview. This was the key selling point of the high-powered delegation, which Agarwal led ahead of the next years Vibrant Gujarat summit.
The delegation met the US’ influential corporate sector, government officials, diaspora, think tanks and academics during their recently concluded two-week multi-city roadshow. “When vibrant Gujarat was started by Mr Modi in 2003, it was mainly investment platform. In the next two-three (Vibrant Gujarat) it emerged as a business platform. Today, Vibrant (Gujarat) is a platform from where anyone in India can do business with anyone in the world, whether Gujarat comes in the picture or not,” Agarwal said.
The delegation comprised of executives from some of the top companies in Gujarat, who are not only manufacturing in the state, but also have substantial trade relations with the US.
During their two-week visit beginning September 23, the delegation travelled to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, New York and New Jersey, to brief the government officials, corporate community and Indian Diaspora on the key features of the upcoming summit and to invite them.
“Now, we are making it (Vibrant Gujarat) business plus. We are not talking of Gujarat alone. We are talking of India. All the diaspora meetings we are having are Indian Diaspora, not Gujarat Diaspora,” Agarwal said in response to a question. “We have changed the focus of the US delegation from merely business to beyond,” he said, adding the new areas being promoted by the State Government are health-care, education and innovation and technology. “Our whole focus in Silicon Valley was on innovation and new technology”.
A high-point of the visit was the innovation round-table that the Gujarat-delegation did at the Stanford University. “It was very well received,” he said, adding that the round-table was attended by about a dozen leading scholars who have done significant research in the developing countries in the last two-three decades.
“We deliberated how Stanford, through its innovation, can address some of the chronic problems, socio-economic issues of India and Gujarat. And Gujarat can provide a platform for them to do their innovation, compile their database in a low-cost manner because of our population,” he said.
Agarwal said, following the round-table, they have appointed nodal officers on both sides who will sit together and interact over the next one month and then come up with a roadmap. “After that, we will send a delegation from Gujarat to them and talk to the innovation of people in Stanford in the four sectors that we have identified,” he said.
In Washington DC, the delegation had a round-table on “Shaping a New India” that was attended by officials from various wings of the US government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, corporate sector and think-tank. Apart from Agarwal, Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Singh Sarna and US India Strategic and Partnership Forum president Mukesh Aghi also addressed the round-table.
Agarwal said: “There is a very great interest in ‘Ayushman Bharat’ – the India’s health-care insurance scheme among pharma companies in the US.” “They had some issues. They were wondering about low cost, about pricing regulations and we answered those questions very well,” he said, adding that US companies are very interested in Ayushman project.
Many of the American pharma companies, he said, have decided to come to India during Vibrant Gujarat summit (next year) and study the Ayushman Bharat scheme.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month rolled out the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) from Jharkhand.
The ambitious scheme, renamed the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan (PMJAY), aims to provide a coverage of Rs five lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers.