Gujarat tops the list of the fastest growing and developing states in the country, with Ahmedabad being on the Forbes’ list of the top three fastest growing cities in the world. Gujarat is also the third largest state economy in India. All this makes the state a land of industrial and business opportunities.
Located in western India, Gujarat is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. The state is spread across an area of 196,024sqkm and is considered the third largest state economy in India with a GDP of US$ 220 billion. Gujarat is the ninth most populated state in India, and 64 per cent of its population is in the working age group of 15-59 years. Gandhinagar is the state’s capital and Ahmedabad its largest city and economic hub. Gujarat has emerged as an important economic and industrial hub in India.
Gujarat is an industrially advanced state with cement and petrol being its largest output. The world’s largest ship-breaking yards are also situated in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. Nearly 100 per cent of the 18,000 villages in Gujarat have access to 24-hour electricity (to households) and eight hours of power to farms. The state’s 900,000 computer users are connected to broadband Internet and it has had the highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97 per cent. The Economist has also referred to Gujarat as India’s Guangdong.
The transportation facilities of Gujarat are worth appreciating. It has 17 airports, two being international —Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad and Surat International Airport. Gujarat comes under the Western Railway Zone of the Indian Railways, with Vadodara Railway Station being the busiest in the state and the fourth busiest in India. Gujarat has good sea links with the country’s longest coastline of 1600km. Regarding road connectivity, the Gujarat State Road Transportation Corporation (GSRTC) is the primary body that provides bus transport within the state as well as to other states across India. Gujarat constantly supports and promotes the use of bicycles to reduce pollution.
There is a reason why Gujarat is favoured by investors and industrialists. It is well connected to domestic and international markets as it is located on the west coast of India, and linked to major ports of UK, the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, and Australia.
Gujarat is India’s largest producer of cotton, salt, marine products, castor, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petrochemicals. It is also the world’s largest centre for polished diamonds, giving it a unique place in the gem and jewellery industry.
Gujarat is among the top five FDI destinations in India, and the state government is adopting various reform measures to enhance its business and investment environment. It is a state that promotes growth, sustainable development and skilled employment. The state government expects the manufacturing sector’s share in Gujarat’s GDP to rise from 28 per cent to 32 per cent by 2020.
The credit for Gujarat’s popularity on the business front also goes to the business-friendly industrial policies, which ensure that high quality socio-economic development takes place. Incentives under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Special Investment Region (SIR) and Industrial Area Development are specifically designed to promote growth in the business sector. Gujarat is also the state with the lowest losses due to labour strikes.
Schemes and policies
Gujarat has always been known as one of the leading industrial states. To maintain this reputation, the state government has introduced many enabling policies and schemes. Let’s look at some of them.
Incentives to industries: A scheme has been introduced with the objective of creating a healthy and profitable environment for businesses and to further increase the industrial development of the state. This scheme focuses on the ‘Make in India’ programme—Gujarat leads the country in 21 out of the 25 sectors identified under this programme. Through this policy, Gujarat aims to:
Encourage the manufacturing sector to upgrade to cutting-edge technology.
Adopt innovative methods to create new products and command the leading position in the national and international markets.
Make Gujarat a globally competitive industrial destination and encourage investments.
Promote labour-intensive industries.
Accelerate the development of infrastructure, the upgradation of technology and R&D.
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