Our New Policy Aims To Make Gujarat India's Defence Factory: CM Vijay Rupani

With 18% of India’s industrial output and 53% of the total FDI in 2020, Gujarat certainly stands tall among other federal States of India and its major economic indicators on right track. Debate is often on historic linkages but it is more about right policy, leadership, thrust on industry and governance. CM Dashboard is set up to monitor each projects underway across the States which is the first of its kind to check accountability--real time and digital. Gujarat's Chief Minister Vijay Rupani speaks with BW Businessworld's Manish Kumar Jha on such initiatives that make global investors flock to Gujarat. Beside industry and investment, he tells me more on Education, NEP and his plan for Green energy.

Photo Credit : Manish Jha/BW,

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

You said Gujarat would implement National Education policy (NEP). What is that excites you about NEP for Gujarat? You formed a task force to build a road map?

Vijay Rupani: Actually the basic foundation of education should be strong, so in the new education policy we have also created a team of experts for primary education as well as a different team of experts for higher education, and this will be implemented very soon keeping in mind the new education policy that has been implemented. 

Gujarat will be the first state in India to implement the new education policy. 

We are going in the direction so that Gujarat can become the educational institutional hub, we also want to coordinate with all the first class global universities. For instance we have established a Biotech University here, as you know that the future for Biotech and bio science is very bright, and we have collaborated with Edinburgh University in UK. The faculty from Edinburgh University will be coming here to teach our children, and we want to ensure that everyone gets quality education so that Gujarat’s name can shine in Biotechnology, just like we have already made our name in petroleum, forensic, etc. We have other universities like the Nirma University, Jeruba University which is now making name in various fields like mechanical and computer education. We also have IIT &  IIM  here so we want Gujarat to be the educational institutional hub, we are moving ahead in this direction.

Gujarat is a pioneer in implementation of NEP 2020 and many of the recommendations of NEP are being implemented in Gujarat. 

NEP 2020 recommendations which are already being practiced in Gujarat are Foundational Learning, Formative and Summative Assessments, Special curriculum and teaching in Anganwadis, Training of Anganwadi Teachers by GCERT, School Preparation Module for Grade 1, upgrading KGBVs up to Grade 12, State-wide School Health Program, Transparent recruitment of Teachers and Teacher’s capacity building.

Gujarat is the only state to have School Accreditation Framework through Gujarat State Quality Accreditation Council (GSQAC) which is recommended in NEP. Through extensive use of technology and platform of Command and Control Centre, Gujarat is already doing path breaking efforts in improving grade-appropriate learning outcomes across all schools. Many of the objectives of NEP 2020 would be achieved through Mission Schools of Excellence project to be rolled out from 2021.

from left- Addn. Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Manoj K Das; Right- CM Vijay Rupani

Gujarat has constituted the Task Force to develop the roadmap for implementation of NEP under the chairmanship of  Education Minister which has members from various departments and prominent educationists, experts from various sectors and other stakeholders. The progress is regularly monitored and the recommendations of the Committee are being taken into consideration and are being incorporated in our policies.

You approved setting up a 5000 MW capacity solar park at the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR), which would be the largest such entity in the world after its completion. But in 2021, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) had pulled out of the 700 MW project at Dholera, citing high tariffs that would put a financial strain on both the DISCOM as well as consumers. What are the reasons behind?

Let me clarify that it is incorrect that GUVNL has pulled out the 700 MW of Projects at Dholera citing higher tariffs that would put financial strain on both the DISCOMs as well as the consumers. 

Let me give you the details.

The tendering process undertaken by GUVNL for procurement of 700 MW power from Solar Projects to be set up at Dholera Solar Park through RfS dated 18.03.2020 by following Competitive Bidding Process, was subject to adoption of tariff by Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) 

The e-reverse auction of the said Tender was held on 13.08.2020 tariffs discovered were in the range of Rs. 2.78 – 2.81 / unit. GUVNL had filed Petition before GERC seeking adoption of tariff discovered under aforesaid Competitive Bidding process.

The Gujarat State Regulatory Commission - GERC had raised concern that the prices discovered in the aforesaid Tender are not aligned to the market forces especially in comparison with the tariff of Rs. 1.99 / unit discovered under the recent Non-Park based Tender concluded in Gujarat, as ultimately burden of the same shall have to be borne by consumers of the State at large.

In light of above and considering that the financial implication of higher tariff shall be substantially huge on GUVNL / end-consumers of the State over the PPA tenure of 25 years, GUVNL had sought Commission’s directives for re-tendering, which has been approved by the Commission.

GUVNL has already undertaken re-tendering and the last date for bid submission is scheduled on 12.04.2021. The Project Developers who have been issued Letter of Awards under the earlier Tender are also at the liberty to participate in the instant Tender.

                                        Dholera Special Economic Zone, Gujarat

How important is renewable energy in your priority list? Could you talk about Gujarat government’s implementation of a cap-and-trade programme which is about India’s war against air pollution. How is it impacting toward carbon neutrality?

Renewable energy is highest in our priority which can be seen from the various policies and schemes being introduced by the State Government in Renewable Energy sector. 

Earlier we have declared a renewable energy project of 5 thousand mega ward but now we are working on a renewable energy (Solar) project in Kuch which is 20,000 mega ward, the work for the same has already been started. We have also inaugurated it in the presence of our Prime Minister.

Gujarat contributes to nearly 12% of total renewable energy capacity of India

Approx.97% of the Renewable Energy capacity is developed by private sector. 

Gujarat plans to reach RE capacity of 67 GW by 2030.

Renewable Energy Gujarat ( Data: Gujarat govt)

We have undertaken strong policy measure and announced numerous policies such as Solar Power Policy, Wind Power Policy, Waste to Energy Policy, Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy, Development of Small scale Distributed Solar Projects and Government waste-land for development of wind/solar/wind-solar Hybrid Parks. 

The installed capacity of the State as on December 2020 is 31,582 MW of which 19,315 MW is conventional and 12,267 MW (40%) is renewable capacity.

State Government has given relaxation in capacity installation by allowing consumers and developers to set up solar projects as per their requirement without any capacity ceiling and the ceiling of 50% of sanctioned load / contracted demand for setting up solar project.

With a view to encourage public to utilize the space available on their roof / premises, consumers have been allowed to set up solar projects on their roof / premises or to give their roof / premises on lease to third party for generation and consumption of power in same premises.

Especially for sustainable development we are making use of solar, wind and clean and green energy, and we also want to make sure that the pollution levels are on check and also everyone is following the policies and the rules. 

We are also constructing  deep sea pipelines so that the chemical industries faces various problems and challenges from the pollution board, so from them I guess we are spending more than 3000 crore to construct the deep sea pipeline, so that the toxic water that comes out we can discharge the water in the right way.

Gujarat has accounted for 53% of the total FDI investment received that of the entire country. Could you talk about some of the biggest investment in the sector wise? Is it about ease of doing business, policy or the historic linkages that makes Gujarat attractive?

It is actually everything, we are benefited historically and geographically, we have a sea shore, we are also in middle of our country and the middle east and Africa is nearer to us so there are benefits. 

But there is our policy also that we are working with so much transparency. We are a policy driven state. So here, it is safe and that is another reason for the FDI to come and the third factor is that Gujarat is good for industrial environment. 

For instance, there is no labour related problem, one will also get abundance of raw material here, there is benefits of export and import and especially pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, automobiles and chemicals. In order to flourish these industries, Gujarat has worked hard and hence now slowly the world is coming here.

Gujarat received highest FDI worth Rs 1.58 lakh crore (USD 21.24 Bn) during Apr – Dec 2020 and during the first six months of 2020-21 it has registered a growth of 550% over previous year. In FY 2019-20, Gujarat saw highest national increment of 240% in FDI inflows from the previous year. The State Government has constantly strengthened the four key pillars for industrial growth 1) Robust Industrial Infrastructure 2) Conducive Policy Environment 3) Investor Hand-holding 4) Ease of Doing Business

These are some of the top Investments that Gujarat is receiving.

During my interaction with leading industrialists of India during the launch of Gujarat Industrial Policy 2020 on 29 August , several key industries came forward to announce their investment plans in Gujarat. Major industrial projects worth to the tune of Rs 10,500-crore were announced by companies like Vedanta (Rs 4,500 crores – Metals), Kiri Industries (Rs 3000 crore – Specialty Chemicals), Welspun Group (Rs 2000 crore – Textiles), and UNO Minda Group (Rs 1,000 crore – Engineering).

Additionally, Gujarat stands 1st in terms of number of IEMs filed & actual investment reported for 2019.  Gujarat had ~51% share (1st Rank in India) of IEMs filed in India in terms of value with a proposed investment of USD 49 billion in 2019 as per the data released by DPIIT.

Gujarat is now poised to become the “Metal Capital of India”. I am happy and glad to announce the key upcoming projects in Metal Sector include: Arcelor Mittal (steel), Essar (steel), Vedanta Group (zinc smelter, World’s largest), JSW (steel), Aditya Birla Group (copper Expansion & Aluminum recycle) and Manikaran Power Ltd. (lithium)

Besides this, the state has also signed several MoUs like:

  • Setting up of Gujarat’s First and India’s largest Multi Modal Logistics Park
  • Setting up of a “Special Education Zone” in Dholera over 1000 acres
  • Hindustan Zinc Ltd. to invest INR 10,000 crore in Tapi district
  • Welspun Group to invest INR 1250 crore in Kutch for setting up a steel plant.

Gujarat offers industries to not only localize supply chains and de-risk their operations, but also strengthen the local ecosystem that would help in creating cost-effective and sustainable solutions. Gujarat and its transformational model today, is one of the key contributors towards our Hon’ble Prime Ministers vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

I strongly believe that, we need to constantly improve the industrial infrastructure and environment of the state for making it future ready. We are in regular discussion with the Union Government, trade organisations, export promotion organisations, MSME’s and key interventions are undertaken to ensure that Gujarat is always a preferred destination for investments in India. 

The sucess of L&T 's K9 Vajra and its ontime completion at Hazira defence unit has placed Gujarat in the front runner in setting up complex defence ecosystem. How is it unfolding?

We have made policies for defence, we have also made policies for aerospace and Dohlera i.e. the smart industrial city which we are developing, we have got land for that and we have also built an infrastructure for the same like airport, connectivity, express highway etc. Once the city is ready this will be one of the biggest smart city in India and we are planning to make it even bigger than Singapore.

Some of the top investment in defence are already being marked to set up in Dholera, which includes:

•Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. – 1000 Acres (Defence)

•Vedanta Group – 200 Acres (Semiconductor)

•SMPP Pvt. Ltd. – 800 to 1000 Acres (Ammunition & Artillery manufacturing)

L&T's defence,Hazira Gujarat ( from R- PM Modi, L&T's Sr, VP, Jayant Patil & FM Sitharaman)

You launched New Industrial Policy which aims to focus on MSMEs and make it globally competitive. What is your policy support  for MSMEs in upgradation of technologies, adopting globally accepted certifications and in marketing their products internationally?

MSME is the backbone of economy. The Government of Gujarat launched the Gujarat Industrial Policy 2020 that has several provisions for supporting MSMEs. The key focus of the policy is towards inclusive & balanced regional development, employment generation, Next generation Industry 4.0 led manufacturing so as to contribute significantly to the vision of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” as laid out by the Prime Minister of India. This will enable the shaping of a Modern Gujarat that spearheads the vision of a Modern India.

There are specific policy thrust for the MSMES sector. Some of the initiatives are benchmark in making Gujarat a hub for MSMEs.

  • In order to make sure easy access to capital for MSMEs, the policy provides for Capital and Interest Subsidy to MSMEs 
  • MSMEs now can acquire technology from any foreign company
  • Certification system introduced to make MSMEs globally competitive
  • Patent support provided (where process patents are also included for incentives)
  • Rent assistance so MSMEs can start their operations as soon as possible
  • Market development, Interest subsidy on setting up Solar Rooftop etc. have been introduced. Other incentives like Quality certification, support for acquisition of foreign patented technologies by MSMEs etc. are aimed at making our MSMEs globally competitive. 
  • MSME Act 2019 - Exempts all MSMEs from obtaining approvals for a period of 3 years & allows them to start operations immediately under State Laws and Rules
  • The state government announced the Rs.14,000-crore ‘Gujarat Atmanirbhar Package’ to make industries and businesses self-reliant 
  • As part of this package, Financial assistance of Rs. 768 crore was provided to 20452 MSME Units
  • Emergency Credit Linked Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS): Gujarat State has exempted Stamp Duty of upto term loan of Rs. 50,000 for MSMEs
  • New industrial establishments exempted from all labor laws for 1000 days

What is your message for BIMARU state to attract investment and for state economic growth?

As you are aware, our Prime Minister was the Chief Minister of Gujarat and under his dynamic leadership Gujarat witnessed tremendous growth. Gujarat became the hub of  Petrochemical & Chemical, Textile , Pharmaceutical, Automobile and Diamond Polishing under his direction and guidance. The vision of Vibrant Gujarat as a preferred Investment destination was his brainchild. 

The way he has worked for Vibrant Gujarat and many other industrial development in Gujarat and now he is doing the same for other states. I know that in all the state where there is less industrial development in those states the Prime Minister himself and the government of India is making sure that some development projects starts and we are also there to help, and we want to provide help as well. Just like a lot of states are working on the ease of doing business so that is really a good thing.

Now as a Prime Minister, he is dedicatedly and continuously working for laying strong foundations for a “Aatma Nirbar Bharat” in all sectors and in a true sense. Under his leadership, I am sure all the states of India will witness exponential growth. Gujarat has the strategic benefit of a long coastline of 1600 kms. Our ports are being utilised by various state for exporting commodities to international markets and support in generating employment. We are happy and ready to support other states in their developmental efforts.  Our success in attracting investment clearly gives message to focus on Reform Centric Governance

  • Sector specific policies - to enable investors to take advantage of both the central and state level support
  • Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs (Gujarat introduced MSME Act 2019)
  • Establish Center of Excellence or skill training center at existing Industrial clusters
  • Encourage R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) makes foray in Gujarat? How do you look at the vibrant mix of opposition in Gujarat?

In the recently held Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and Panchayats elections the People of Gujarat have given historical mandate to Bharatiya Janta Party. This has not only endorsed our developmental works but also to our transparent pro-people policies too. People want all round development to continue at a fast pace and therefore they have once again blessed us by giving overwhelming majority. 

AAP getting few seats in Gujarat, it is not a concern for us. In fact, the number speaks that Congress has been rejected by the people. 

They have not been chosen to administer and in fact, they have been discarded as an opposition party also. As far as our party is concerned, we have significantly increased our vote percentage and seats. In democracy, people's verdict is supreme and we all must accept it.

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