Modi promises easy biz; cos announce big investments at VGS

Gandhinagar: Big corporates — including Ambanis, Adanis and Birlas as also Suzuki and Rio Tinto from abroad — today committed to investing over Rs 1.6 lakh crore and creating more than 50,000 jobs, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to make India the ‘easiest’ place to do business with a stable policy and tax regime.

Modi also promised “truly unlimited” development across sectors and regions, while business leaders lined up huge investment commitments and signed MoUs across sectors on the first day of three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit here.

Taking the lead, billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Industries would invest Rs 1 lakh crore over the next 12-18 months across businesses.

Adani group signed an MoU for setting up a solar park in Gujarat in partnership with US-based SunEdison at an investment of USD four billion (about Rs 25,000 crore), while creating 20,000 jobs. Adani group also signed an agreement with Australian energy major Woodside.

Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla also announced Rs 20,000 crore investment in the state in cement and other businesses.

Among foreign companies, Australian mining giant Rio Tinto’s CEO Sam Walsh said the group would add 30,000 jobs in diamond cutting industry in Gujarat, adding that entire Australia is looking forward to the state as a promising business destination.

Japanese auto major Suzuki’s Chairman Osamu Suzuki said its new car manufacturing unit in Gujarat, being set up at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore, will be ready by 2017.

Diversified Kalyani Group also said it will invest Rs 600 crore for upgradation and overhaul of Armoured Fighting Vehicles unit at Dholera, Gujarat, while Welspun Renewables announced an investment of Rs 8,300 crore to set up about 1,000 MW solar and wind capacities in the state.

After inaugurating the seventh edition of this biennial global business summit, conceived in 2003 during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a predictable and fair policy environment and stable tax regime and assured the global community that India would be the “easiest” place to do business.

“Since day one, my government is actively working to revive the economy. My government is committed to creating a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair,” he told an audience comprising US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and top global and domestic CEOs.

Modi, who assumed office as Prime Minister in May last year after BJP stormed to power with a huge mandate, said that the atmosphere of “despair and uncertainty” has gone away within a very short span of seven months.

The government will “hold your hands whenever needed…If you walk one step, we will walk two steps for you,” he said.