More than 25,500 memorandum of understanding (MoU) have been signed in three days of the eighth Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, a biennial business meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched as the state’s chief minister in 2003.
The summit had made headlines in the past for the staggering number of deals inked at each edition. This year’s
aim was 22,000, with an investment commitment of around `30 lakh crore.
In his inaugural address on Tuesday, Modi invited business leaders of around 100 countries to invest in India.
“For investment, sky is the limit and our policies are very progressive. India is going to emerge as one of the world’s largest construction markets. All this offers unprecedented opportunities to the investment community,” he said.
Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel announced the number of MoUs after the summit ended on Thursday, but the BJP-led state government didn’t reveal the total investment that these deals would generate.
In valedictory sessions, attended by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, industry captains and some of the visiting diplomats, Patel said the maximum MoUs were signed for medium and small engineering units, which is over 18,533. As many as 52 MoUs were of above `4,000 crore.
These deals have separate fields for investment and jobs that the projects will create.
There have been wide gaps in actual investment and the promised sum. To avoid a controversy linked to such differences in investment when Modi was preparing to run for the prime minister’s chair, the Gujarat government didn’t declare the pledged figure at the end of 2013 summit. His successor, Anandiben Patel, declared after the 2015 edition a promised investment of `25 lakh crore from 22,602 MoUs.
Current chief minister Vijay Rupani, calling the summit a great success, said: “The government has been questioned why 20% of the MoUs signed do not materialise. We welcome this criticism. This proves that 80% deals do materialise. That’s our credibility.”
These deals are supposed to generate employment, pertinent at a time when several Dalit leaders in the state are demanding jobs for people from the marginalised sections of society.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani along with Patidar leaders were detained on January 10 ahead of the summit’s inauguration. They were protesting against lack of jobs and land for the poor and Dalits.