On the occasion, PM Modi will hold meetings with world leaders and CEOs of top global corporations.
Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the first time on 13 September 2021. After the massive victory of the BJP in the assembly elections of 2022, he was sworn-in as Gujarat’s 17th Chief Minister on 12 December 2022.
Bhupendrabhai Patel began his political journey as a member in Memnagar municipality and was elected as MLA from Ghatlodia constituency (Ahmedabad) in 2017.
Patel has extensive experience in administration, having served in various significant positions including Chairman of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Vice Chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board, and the chairman of the Ahmedabad mUrban Development Authority (AUDA). Born on 15 July 1962, in Ahmedabad, Patel is a Civil Engineer by qualification. Beyond politics, he enjoys playing badminton and cricket.
In an interview with Nikhil Vyas, Mr Patel talks about the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit and on the growth plans for the Dholera greenfield investment region and DREAM City.
Q: Gujarat is celebrating 20 Years of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. How has the journey been? What has been the impact of this unique initiative and what is the way forward?
A: In 2003, Vibrant Gujarat was conceptualized under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (the then Chief Minister of Gujarat). Through the years, the summit has evolved as one of the most reputed global forums for business networking, knowledge sharing and strategic partnerships for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit ( VGGS) has proved to be a gamechanger for the state. Today, it showcases Gujarat’s entrepreneurial spirit to the world, an image of not just being a preferred investment destination but a state shaping a new India. Gujarat has consistently been one of the fastest-growing states in the country in terms of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 15 per cent from 2002-03 (INR 1.42 lakh crore) to 2022-23 (INR 22.61 lakh crore). Despite having 5 per cent of India’s population, Gujarat contributes 8.3 per cent to the nation’s GDP and 18 per cent to its industrial output. The sheer resilience of the people and their faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership made Gujarat a frontrunner visible to people across the globe. Gujarat is committed to contributing towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Viksit Bharat @ 2047. Our mission is to make Gujarat a key contributor to India’s USD 5 Trillion economy plan. The Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024, themed “Gateway to the Future” will play a pivotal role in achieving this vision. I am confident that the VGGS which is the first Summit in Amrit Kaal will be a golden opportunity for investors looking to engage with Gujarat for its immense growth potential.
Q: What policy initiatives have enabled Gujarat to emerge as the preferred hub for foreign investments?
A: After having due stakeholder consultation, the Government has formulated policies across 20 sectors at par with other global policies, which catered to the needs of industry players and helped continue industrial growth of the state by enhancing overall economic development. Due to proactive policymaking, a favourable Ease of Doing Business environment, an investor-friendly approach, robust industrial infrastructure, and improved quality of life, Gujarat now stands out as the top choice for Indian and global conglomerates looking to invest and establish their businesses.
Companies from the US, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have expressed keen interest in Gujarat, spanning various sectors such as Renewable Energy, Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, Agro & Food Processing, Financial Services, Green Hydrogen, Futuristic Technologies, Textiles and more. In run-up to VGGS 24, as of 20 November 2023, the Government of Gujarat has inked MoUs with over 55 companies, anticipating the creation of opportunities in sectors including Agro and Food Processing, Textile and Apparel, Engineering, Automobile, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Power, Oil & Gas, Renewable Energy, Packaging, IT, Biotechnology, Industrial Parks & Mini Estates, and Logistics.
Q: Which are the new economy industries that the Gujarat government is focusing on for attracting investments?
A: The Gujarat government through good governance has got an immense potential to attract industries from emerging sectors like Semiconductor & ESDM (Electronics System Design & Manufacturing), Green Hydrogen, Renewable Energy Ecosystem, Aerospace and defense, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Fintech, Cybersecurity, and Hi-Tech manufacturing and consumer goods. A comprehensive ecosystem, right from handholding to setting up an enterprise, is being created in thrust areas like green ammonia, fuel cell, battery storage, and electric vehicle manufacturing industries.
Q. Please share the future growth plans for the Dholera greenfield investment region and DREAM City?
A: Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) stands as India’s premier platinum-rated industrial Smart City. It holds immense promise in sectors such as Defence, Aviation, Electronics, High-Tech Emerging Technologies, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, and Heavy Engineering. DSIR will be a major beneficiary of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), with 38 per cent of the DFC traversing Gujarat (565 km). The Ahmedabad-Dholera Express Highway will be operational by 2024. An International Cargo Airport under development in Dholera SIR is set to become one of the largest Greenfield international airports. To meet the growing demand of the diamond industry for commercial and residential spaces and complement the development of the Diamond Trading business, DREAM City has been established in Surat. The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) anchors this project, which is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2023. The master plan includes designated land parcel for diverse uses, connected by broad interconnecting roads, featuring a range of projects for Affordable Housing, Commercial activity, Metro connectivity, Recreation, and other public-private partnership (PPP) modelbased initiatives.
Q. How is Gujarat positioning itself to become a one-stop destination for renewable energy and green hydrogen hubs?
A: The Gujarat government is committed to building a sustainable and climate-resilient future. Under the leadership of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat established Asia’s first Climate Change Department in 2009. We have since then excelled in renewable energy, with projects like the Charanka Solar Park in Patan district, canal-top solar installations, and rooftop solar panels. We are a leading state in residential solar rooftops. Gujarat ranks 1st among all states in rooftop solar with an installed capacity of 2.9 GW (Total rooftop consumers over 4.4 lakhs). The “Solar Village” at Modhera has gained global recognition. Gujarat is home to solar cells & module manufacturing companies and wind turbine and blade manufacturing companies. I would like to mention that Gujarat is the first state in India to set up a canal-top solar project. Today Gujarat contributes to 15 per cent of India’s total renewable energy capacity (22.5 GW) and has a plan to add 30 GW more through the world’s largest hybrid solar and wind park by 2025. Gujarat has been positioned as a ‘Top Performer’ in NITI Aayog’s State Energy & Climate Index 2022. We recently launched Gujarat Renewable Energy Policy 2023 which aims to generate 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, increasing wind, solar, and hybrid technology projects.
Additionally, Gujarat is actively collaborating with the Government of India to establish itself as the global “Green Hydrogen Capital”. We have pioneered an incentive scheme, the “Aatmanirbhar Gujarat Scheme for Assistance to Industries”, aimed at promoting Green Hydrogen Projects. Gujarat’s strategic focus extends to developing the entire value chain for Green Hydrogen. Abundant renewable energy resources, vital for Green Hydrogen generation, are readily available in the state. With India’s longest seacoast, Gujarat has a substantial water supply that can be efficiently desalinated for Green Hydrogen production. The Gujarat government has earmarked 1.99 lakh hectare of Government waste land to five companies for development of RE power plant for Green Hydrogen production. Furthermore, the state’s 49 ports (1 major and 48 non-major) position it as an ideal gateway for exporting Green Hydrogen/Ammonia to the global market. Our initiatives harmonize seamlessly with the Government of India’s efforts, such as the National Green Hydrogen Mission and production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes for Electrolyzers and ACC batteries. This synergy promises to propel Gujarat into a prominent Green Hydrogen Hub.