Friday, January 27th, 2023 10:55:53

Cohesive Mission and Action

By Deepak Kumar Rath
Updated: March 7, 2022 11:24 am

“If you closely analyse Gujarat’s success and look for the reasons behind its ability to attract foreign investors, you will find that the state’s tech prowess, industry-friendly policies, transparent administrative system, and commitment towards development over the past two decades have played a crucial role. These are the factors that have enabled Gujarat to be the most desired state for investors. We are continuously upgrading our policies and management to improve the ease-of-doing business environment. Like our single-window system initiative, which successfully processed over 800,000 applications, has become a one-stop solution for approvals and clearances for businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel in an Exclusive interview to Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:


What development initiatives has your government taken for Gujarat?

Gujarat is a business-friendly state and my government is focussed on playing a role of enabler for the investors to take the advantage of such an environment. We have rolled out a few new policies as the situation demands, besides the ones that are already doing well. For example, in February we launched a new IT policy that would take the state to the newer heights in the IT sector and place Gujarat among the top five performing states in this emerging field. Through this policy, we have set a target to propel our IT exports eight-fold to Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years.

In the same month, we also launched a new Biotechnology policy to make Gujarat competitive in the field of applied science and maximise the benefits by partnering with various NGOs, scientific establishments and industries. We will be investing around Rs 20,000 crore in order to assist over 500 biotech industries and generate 1.20 lakh employment opportunities.

Apart from this, we are vigorously working towards achieving the goal of sustainable development by supporting the implementation of solar rooftops, encouraging electric vehicles, promoting natural farming, etc. Our approach is to make the state resilient and future-ready by building state-of-the-art technology.

Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit got postponed this year. How many MoUs did the government sign with global and domestic industries?

The industry leaders were very enthusiastic for the Summit this year before we had to postpone it in the larger interest of our people. However, we had inked over 100 MoUs worth over Rs 60,000 crores during the run up to the Summit. Most of these MoUs were in sectors such as renewable energy, hydrogen, pesticides, synthetic chemicals, training and research.

What factors have played a major role in Gujarat becoming the country’s most-preferred investment destination across the globe?

If you closely analyse Gujarat’s success and look for the reasons behind its ability to attract foreign investors, you will find that the state’s tech prowess, industry-friendly policies, transparent administrative system, and commitment towards development over the past two decades have played a crucial role.

These are the factors that have enabled Gujarat to be the most desired state for investors. We are continuously upgrading our policies and management to improve the ease-of-doing business environment. Like our single-window system initiative, which successfully processed over 800,000 applications, has become a one-stop solution for approvals and clearances for businesses and entrepreneurs.


What has been the mantra to run your government with a balanced strategy of good governance and accommodating all in the changing sweet-and-sour situations?

My mantra is to keep things simple, and avoid taking decisions in haste. As the Chief Minister of the state, my priority is to work for the people, and empower them through good governance. I believe the government should reach out to the last person in the queue, and that is what this government under my leadership is doing. My administration has been on its toe to work tirelessly for the people.


Gujarat has brought several policy changes encouraging rooftop solar installations in the state. Please describe the story behind it.

As envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the state is determined to be net zero by the year 2070. We have allocated Rs 910 crores in the budget to combat the menace of climate change by becoming a hub of green energy and expanding our Renewable Energy generation base. Gujarat was the first state in 2009 to set up a climate change department not only in India but first in Asia. As of today, we have an installed capacity of 8,900 megawatts of wind power and 6,200 megawatts of solar power, and we stand second and third in the country in the respective sectors.

We have aligned ourselves with the central Government’s target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar. Our solar policy is fairly progressive which offers several incentives such as no ceiling on capacity to be installed which in turn allowed the consumers to lease their roofs and premises for setting up plants. Additionally, residential and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) consumers were also allowed to sell the surplus power generated after meeting their consumption needs at a tariff of ₹2.25 per unit. Also, Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana scheme offers financial and technical assistance to residential users of rooftop systems.

So, with such visionary and supportive policies along with sufficient allocation of budget for climate change every year, Gujarat has become the number one state in installing solar rooftops.

Gujarat is well ahead in providing safe drinking water to every household in the state. Why does this mission hold such an importance for your government?

The central government implemented the Jal Jeevan Mission and partnered with states to provide tap water supply to every rural household and public institutions in village like schools, anganwadi centres, health centres, Gram Panchayat buildings etc. And although the target was to be achieved by 2024, I am very proud to say that Gujarat will accomplish this by the end of this year itself. For this, we used lift irrigation technologies to bring water to every household in tribal and mountainous regions where it was a challenge for us.

I am elated to share that few of the districts like Botad, Anand, Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Porbandar, Vadodara, Patan, Gir Somnath, Dang, Morbi, and Junagadh, have achieved 100% coverage of piped water connections.

This initiative will improve the quality of life of people as well as enhance their ease of living, especially the women and children.

How are you including agriculture development and in your ‘Aatmanirbhar Gujarat’ campaign?

A large portion of the state depends directly or indirectly on agriculture which keeps this sector at the foundation of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Gujarat’ vision. For agricultural development, I believe we need to adapt new innovations to strengthen the rural economy and farmers. The reason why our farmers have been distressed in the past is due to the burden of buying costly fertilisers and chemicals to feed the growing population. And we do not want this situation to prolong any further and hence, we are sincerely making efforts towards bringing a shift to natural farming.

We are promoting cow-based natural farming, where no harmful chemicals are used. Our team also found that a farmer owning one cow can cultivate around 20-30 acres of land using the cow dung and urine. And these practices not only help in reducing the overall cost, but also improve the soil fertility. Today, we all are aware about the adverse effects of chemicals used to grow food, and that is the reason we are seeing a rise in demand for organic products.  People are also ready to pay more for chemical-free food which helps farmers receive good prices for their naturally grown products.

To encourage more and more farmers to get involved in natural farming, the state government has implemented a few schemes and initiatives in the past few months. We are providing annual assistance of Rs 10,800 for the maintenance of a Desi Cow to the farmers, who have adopted natural farming. So far, assistance of around Rs 200 crores has been distributed among 2 lakh farmers. Moreover, the scheme also provides assistance for purchasing a PrakrutikKrushi Kit (Rs 1,300 per kit) to prepare a natural pesticide called ‘Jeevamrut’. More than 40,000 farmers have been given subsidies of around Rs 5 crore for PrakrutikKrushi Kit.

Dang district has already been declared as a 100% chemical-free farming region. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been very supportive of this initiative and he has personally encouraged the state farmers through virtual conferences to take up natural farming practices.

The next edition of Defence Expo is going to be held here in the state. Your thoughts on holding such a prestigious event?

It is a matter of great honour to host the 12th edition of the Expo in the state.  The theme of the expo “India:  The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub” is aligned with Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat. It will provide an excellent platform to showcase India’s tremendous potential to become a leading manufacturer as well as supplier of defence products and solutions. Government of Gujarat has also proactively promoted the MSME sector to tap into opportunities in defence manufacturing and offsets. There are several MSMEs that have setup their units in Gujarat and supply critical parts to some of India’s strategic Aerospace & Defence programs.

 


By Deepak Kumar Rath

(editor@udayindia.in)

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