Vibrant Gujarat

2015

REPORT

October 30, 2015

/ By

Biz@India

Jan-Feb 2015



For over a decade, Vibrant Gujarat was Narendra Modi’s bi-annual branding event. Elected thrice as Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi promoted the state as the business hub of India and an example of economic development. With Modi as the Prime Minister, Vibrant Gujarat summit is set to scale new heights.

Narendra Modi was brimming with confidence at the last edition of Vibrant Gujarat in January 2013. Having led the Bharatiya Janata Party to yet another thumping win in Gujarat, Modi seemed to have clearly set his sights and ambitions at a much higher level than the chief minister’s position. Any sharp eye present at the event could not have missed that Modi was using the platform to kick start his campaign for the top job of the country.

Moving around with who’s who of the Indian industry as well as dozens of leading global companies, Modi was the Emperor of all that he surveyed. Cracking jokes, making smart repartees and yet holding his flock together, Modi had convinced all present at that meet that he was all set to lead the state and indeed the country to a higher orbit. Practically everyone present at the meet seemed all set to hand him the top responsibility of the country, in part, due to the interia and sluggishness that had taken hold of the Indian psyche and economy and the complete absence of dynamism or any sign of activity from the Congress-led UPA government.

In 2013, it was a proud Modi that addressed the crowd. Strangely he was switching between Hindi and Gujarati languages, almost forgetting the numerous foreigners sitting there. “We don’t understand what he said, but he seemed to be very motivated!”, a Canadian businessman told us. At that moment he did not announced his candidature for the post of PM but clearly he was clearly building its strategy towards it.

 

From the files: The then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi addressing the gathering at Vibrant Gujarat 2013

From the files: The then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi addressing the gathering at Vibrant Gujarat 2013

Two years on, as Gujarat gets ready to host another Vibrant Gujarat Summit, a lot has changed on the ground. The UPA government has been consigned to history following a historic electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party, engineered single handedly by Modi, after nearly two years of campaigning. The Indian business is already ticking with much higher confidence and a degree of optimism about the fate of the economy, which too has start spurting into life, after nearly two years of rather moribund performance. Equally crucially, the confidence of the overseas investors and businesses in India seems to be finally creeping up, after having been sent crashing down by some of the decisions of the previous government.

After his elevation to the position of Prime Minister of India, how do the international and domestic businesses react to ‘Vibrant Modi’? The response is uniformly positive, even if at times it is sprinkled with a dose of caution.

“We heard that everything was much more easier in Gujarat, the paper work, the money transfer, the power, the skills, etc. We wondered what was this paradise – knowing that doing business in India can really be difficult,” mentions the Chief Executive Office of a German ITES company, who is keen to attend the meet.

Every year, Gujarat government publishes new figures to impress the participants; many ministers and ambassadors also attend the event. But the main attractions continue to be the industry magnates (the Ambani, Essar, Tata and other fortunes) who all turn out to share their experience. For 2015, the expectations are that the turnout at the top level itself would be a record, even if the 2013 edition had already a very heavy weight attendance from the Indian and global industry.

During his electoral campaigning, Modi had already announced that he would use the Vibrant Gujarat event as a platform to promote other states as well. Indeed, the 7th edition, will have “exclusive” international trade summit titled: ‘Vibrant India First’, that will feature India as a “preferred sourcing destination”.

“This is a pan-India trade platform created especially for the MSME players. That is the reason we are calling it Vibrant India First. This will provide a good exposure to the Indian manufacturers and is in line with Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ campaign,” says Amit Goyal, vicepresident and regional chairman (Western Region) of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

The “Vibrant India First” trade summit will see top leaders and 120 foreign buyers and importers from 18 odd countries from the “emerging markets” of African & ASEAN region. These countries include Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Hongkong, Ethopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

“The summit will also feature 350- 400 companies from across India. They will hold one-on-one meetings with foreign buyers and importers who will be present during the event,” says Nihar Lakhia, Joint Director of FIEO (Western Region). The summit will feature India as one of the largest market that provides a great potential for trade and technology. It seeks to hard sell India as cost-effective destination for sourcing technology and production in comparison to US and European Union.

Just 10 days before the seventh edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit (VGGIS), the registrations were already closed. for a majority of the theme seminars.

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