I recently had an opportunity to witness Vibrant Gujarat first hand. Apexon did a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Government of Gujarat (GOG) and I got the privilege to sign it on our behalf.
Gujarat, for those who do not know is the western most state in India, Apexon has its offices in its largest city Ahmedabad. The Vibrant Gujarat Summits, held biennially since 2003, have been organized by GOG as an event to demonstrate the pro business attitude from the government and to woo commitments of investments from the industry. It has been increasingly successful in attracting investment proposals. Last summit saw MOU’s worth over US$ 370 billion signed, topped by this year at staggering $450 billion.
This year On January 12th and 13th, 2011 the 5th Vibrant Gujarat Summit was held at the new purpose-built Mahatma Mandir, in the State capital, Gandhinagar. The opening ceremony was chaired by chief minister Narendra Modi and was attended by who’s who of Indian industry, like Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Ratan Tata, Gautam Adani, Kumaramangalam Birla, Chanda kochar (ICICI bank CEO), film star preity Zinta and many more.
The show started with a passionate and zestful rendition of Jai jai garvi gujarat written by renowned poet Narmadashankar Dave. The main guests were presented with a khadi handkerchief, Gadhiji’s book my experiments with truth and Modi’s book aankh aa dhanya che. Words of encouragement for Modi and Gujarat were echoed throughout the opening ceremony.
Anil Ambani skillfully compared Father of nation (Gandhiji) to Father of entrepreneurship (Dhirubhai) to Father of Gujarat (Modi). His opening statement where he mentioned his “respected elder brother Mukesh Ambani” drew a lot of applause. He also mentioned how his father once mentioned to him about Modi – Lambi race no ghodo che (Modi will stick on for long).
Chanda Kochar – CEO ICICI bank said “In the sphere of development, the world is now looking to India and India now looks to Gujarat” .
Ron Summers, president of the US-India Business Council said “Gujarat is a shining beacon of prosperity, opportunity and progress. I hope the United State will be a partner country in 2013 like Japan and Canada are at this conclave”. Note that US had denied visa to Modi in 2005, in the wake of the massacre of minorities that followed a train burning incident in the state in 2002.
It was interesting and inspiring to hear the biggest people from Indian industry particularly for me, who has never had an opportunity to see so many Indian leaders in person. Modi rose up to thank each speaker in person. He said
“Gujarat is a land of entrepreneurs and enterprise. We are today the sharing platform of Vibrant Gujarat with other states for ensuring better knowledge and technology reaches all of India.”
Our MOU was signed at 5:00 PM in front of some Gujarat ministers. I was surprised and little disappointed at lack of known IT firms declaring their intentions of coming to Gujarat. I think it is time that we start to see tier 1 and 2 IT outsourcing firms establish in Gujarat. I am hoping we see this change significantly in next summit.
Gujarat has got some criticism for not realizing all the MOUs that get signed. Even if a quarter of announced MOUs are actually implemented, it has and will put Gujarat ahead of the game. The government is doing all they can to support a vibrant public private environment to foster Gujarat’s growth.
“Jai jai garvi Gujarat”