India can become a world leader in solar power, and the World Bank is keen to partner India in this, said the World Bank Group President at the ‘Vibrant Gujarat 2015’ which increasingly is looking like a ‘Vibrant India’ this year
By Sai Nikesh D
Showering praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies, the World Bank has said that economic reforms in India are expected to drive its economic growth from 5.5% in 2014 to over 6.4% this year and to a higher growth rate next year.
Speaking at the “7th Vibrant Gujarat 2015” conference, Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President, said that Modi’s reforms such as “Make in India”, Goods and Services Tax (GST), phasing out of diesel subsidies and steps to create a more inclusive society, are likely to place India among the world’s fastest growing economies for a long time to come.
“Prime Minister Modi and his government are quickly putting in place the building blocks for even more rapid growth, streamlining the national regulatory structure, using public funds more efficiently, and promoting social inclusion,” Kim said. “These tax and subsidy reforms and public investments in human capital are essential to generating inclusive and sustainable growth in India over the next century,” he added.
Kim also highlighted the potential in a partnership between India and the World Bank in power generation. “I’m particularly excited about our work together on renewable power generation because it can make India the world leader in solar energy,” he said. The World Bank and the state of Gujarat also signed two agreements in Swaach Bharat (sanitation program) and in the development of ‘Smart Cities’.
The 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, being held from January 11 – 13, 2015, kick-started on Sunday at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, with dignitaries from 120 countries and eight partner countries across the globe. After a successful Summit in 2013 that paved the way for Gujarat to showcase its investment-friendly environment to global investors, this year’s Summit aims to achieve inclusive development.
Focus sectors of the “Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015” include Healthcare, Ports & Ship Building Industry, Renewable Energy, Mega Tourism Project, Defence, 50 Disruptive Technologies, Agri & Food Business, Road Transport, Skill Ecosystem, Innovation and R&D, MSMEs, and Manufacturing.
Speaking at the inauguration of the event, Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister, Gujarat, expressed that Vibrant Gujarat 2015 epitomises ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas‘ in its true spirit, at a completely different level. Vibrant Gujarat 2015 is not only limited to exchange of business and economy, it has now evolved to be a fusion of business and culture, she added. Patel assured the Prime Minister of India that Gujarat will be the trend-setter for the “Make in India” campaign.
Speaking about renewed Indo-US trade ties in recent months, John Kerry, Secretary of State, USA, said, “The moment has never been more right to tab the incredible possibilities between India and US.” The US Business delegation is planning to invest over $40 billion in Gujarat and other parts of India in the coming years.
Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General, United Nations, Lord Livingston, Minister for Trade & Development, Govt. of United Kingdom, Yosuke Takagi , State Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, Govt. of Japan, were among other global political leaders who spoke at the event.
Among private players, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), said that RIL plans to invest Rs. 1 lakh crore in the coming 12-18 months in Gujarat and called upon global industrialists to invest in Gujarat. The other major announcement came from Kumar Mangalam Birla of Aditya Birla Group, who revealed plans to invest Rs.20,000 crore in Gujarat.
Sam Walsh, CEO, Rio Tinto, Australia, said, “We will add 30,000 Jobs in diamond cutting industry in Gujarat. Looking forward to impetus that Vibrant Gujarat will provide.” Osamu Suzuki, Chairman and CEO, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Ajaypal Singh Banga, President, USIBC, were among others who spoke at the event.
Gujarat and Australia’s New South Wales’ Government have signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in various fields including education, skill development, sustainable urban development, clean technology and water security and a better establishment of closer bilateral relationship.
Netherlands Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade Simon Smits said that Netherland Companies in Gujarat are not only contributing in Make-in-Gujarat but also moving one step further. “They are working towards Research-in-Gujarat and Design-in-Gujarat,” he said.
This article was published in The Dollar Business on January 12, 2015.