Vibrant Gujarat is a huge success

A staggering 7,936 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for Rs 20,83,000 crore or Rs 20.83 trillion (about $462 billion) worth of projects have been signed in the two-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, chief minister Narendra Modi announced at the valedictory function Thursday evening. The investment agreements include those signed by states like Karnataka, which had used the Vibrant Gujarat platform to market its case. The investment would result in about 5.2 million additional jobs, according to Modi. Addressing the closing ceremony of the summit, Modi said, “One important factor of this summit is that 54% of the total MoUs are signed by small and medium enterprises.” The previous edition of the summit in 2009 had mopped up Rs 12,00,000 crore or Rs 12 trillion (about $243 billion then), with about 4,000 MoUs being signed. Growing both in scale and participation, Vibrant Gujarat 2011 was a much bigger event where 600 delegates had one-toone meeting with Modi in two days. “These included delegations from 33 countries and 10 Indian states,” said Maheshwar Sahu, principal secretary, industries, adding, “As many as 35,000 delegates, including 1,400 from abroad belonging to 101 countries, listened to 350 expert speakers on different subjects. There were 33 knowledge events, where 479 tie-ups happened. In 30 cases, MoUs were signed to put up projects outside Gujarat.” Critics may argue that the actual inflow of money is a fraction compared to what was promised during the first four editions of Vibrant Gujarat. But even if a small percentage of what was pledged during the last two days comes actually on ground, it would be a mind-boggling number. Inestment pledges in Vibrant Gujarat 2011 are higher than India's foreign exchange reserves estimated at around $300 billion. The closing ceremony — home-grown billionaire Gautam Adani was the chief guest — began with Japanese singer Mayo Amarai singing ‘Limbuda Laido’ number enthralling the audience, which consisted of state-based businessmen, state BJP politicians, a few foreign delegates mainly from African countries, and diplomats from Japan and China. Among the foreign dignitaries who spoke on the occasion praising Gujarat’s ‘vibrant’ character were the chief minister of a Brazilian province, ministers from Uganda and Rwanda, and Canadian MP Patrick Brown. Speaking in Hindi to reach out to the larger audience which would be listening to him online, Modi said the biggest achievement of the summit was the ability to “inspire the capitalists to work for the social cause.” Especially giving the example of Ratan Tata, he said, the Tatas’ proposal to develop rural transportation would go a “long way in transforming Gujarat society.”

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