Column: Gujarat hasn’t gotten over Godhra

Jan 09 2014, 02:41 IST
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SummaryBefore the riots, 21% of India’s new capacity creation was in Gujarat. At 13.6% now, it is way below what it used to be

Gujarat has been the most aggressive state in trying to attract investments to its shores in recent times. The chief minister has stretched out opportunistically whenever a major project ran into trouble famously in another state. Whether this was trouble with land acquisition for Tata Motors’ Nano project in Singur (West Bengal) or labour troubles for Maruti in Manesar (Haryana), Narendra Modi did not lose an opportunity to provide these companies an alternate in his state. This instant gratification has been duly reciprocated with lavish accolades from the captains of industry.

Vibrant Gujarat has become an elaborately organised and proactive platform to attract investors to the state. Most of the announcements made during Vibrant Gujarat have not progressed far beyond the event. But the state has benefited from its multi-pronged and aggressive strategy for attracting investments. It has attracted and, more importantly, executed the largest investments amongst all states of India in recent times.

Gujarat has been the top-ranking state in terms of new investments being completed in the past three years. It also topped the list in four of the last five years.

Completion of projects is the most meaningful indicator of investments. This is when the investments actually turn into productive assets, when they create new employment and start generating new goods or services. Many promoters make tall claims of the investments they intend to make but only a few of these actually progress beyond these initial announcements. Some proposals make progress but the implementation gets stalled for a variety of reasons. The little capital formation that takes place lies without being utilised for a long time. So, what matters more than the announcement of projects and even more than the classical concept of capital formation is the completion of projects. And Gujarat tops the list in this respect by a good margin.

In 2012-13, according to CMIE’s CapEx database, projects worth R577 billion were commissioned in Gujarat. This was way above the next state, Maharashtra’s R418 billion worth of commissioning. In 2011-12, Gujarat’s lead was even larger with investments of R686 billion over Maharashtra’s R343 billion. In 2010-11, Gujarat completed projects worth R377 billion and Karnataka followed with completions worth R334 billion. In 2009-10, it was Andhra Pradesh that led the states with the completion of R674 billion worth of projects. But, in 2008-09, Gujarat was way ahead of the pack with R716 billion worth of project completion.

Gujarat’s supremacy is new.

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