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Gujarat Govt speeds up Vibrant Gujarat preparations

Biennial event to start from January 11, 2013 at Gandhinagar

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With forming the next government in Gujarat, state administration is in full swing for the preparation for sixth edition of its flagship event, Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit () 2013.

The magnitude of the preparations by the state government can be gauged from the slew of programmes that have been lined up starting Monday, beginning with a pre-event seminar on Minerals & Mining Industry, to be held on Monday, December 24, followed by others in the field of auto ancillary, gems and jewellery and healthcare besides several others.

Such was the excitement of the chief minster relating to the event, that just a day prior to the vote counting on Thursday, he reviewed the preparations of the VGGIS 2013.

It is no surprise then, with Modi returning to power after the election results on Thursday, co-organisers of the VGGIS event wasted no time in sending press invites for upcoming pre-event seminars.

Soon after the election results, industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry () sent an invite to the participants and media for a pre-event seminar on Minerals & Mining Industry, to be held on Monday, December 24. FICCI is the partner organisation for the event.

Sixth edition of the flagship event of Gujarat government, VGGIS 2013 will take place on January 11-12, 2013 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The last edition of VGGIS had witnessed 7936 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) getting signed with a promised investment worth Rs 20.83 lakh crore.

According to government sources, over 5000 delegates from 110 countries are likely to participate in the two-day event. Japan and Canada are the partner countries for the summit, while delegates representing business councils of US, UK and Australia will also join the event.

It may be noted that UK diplomats led by the British High Commissioner, had met Modi in October this year. "This is for the first time in the past decade, that UK is participating in the event. This has been possible due to the re-establishment of snapped ties (with Gujarat government). It reassures the industry of improving relations and helps in taking a decision for investment in Gujarat," said a source at the British Trade office.

Delegates of 30 UK-based companies from key sectors including energy, education, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, media and innovation, life sciences are likely to come.

However, according to state government officials, this time, the focus of the event would be more on skill development and technology transfer than drawing more investments. "The focus would be on networking, knowledge sharing apart from drawing investments," said H G Koshia, commissioner of the Gujarat Food and Drugs Control Administration.

About 35-40 pharma companies are likely to sign MoUs at the summit

As the Vibrant Gujarat Investors Summit draws near focus is once again back on investments flowing into the state. Around 35-40 pharmaceutical companies are expected to sign memorandums of understanding with the state government in the upcoming summit in January 2013, down from last time's 90 companies.

This includes multinational heavyweights as well, said a senior state government official. The last vibrant had seen investments worth Rs 10,686 crore committed in the pharmaceutical space, with around 90 companies signing MoUs. So, are investments going to be down this time? The official says on grounds of anonymity, "The investment figure might not go down, but is unlikely to be up significantly. But, it is not just about drawing investment commitments, but we want projects to be executed on ground as well." This year the state government wants to attract companies that would help it move up the value chain, pharma and biotechnology are amongst focus sectors. Amongst big pharma, Israel's Teva and US-based Abbott Laboratories will also sign MoUs for their upcoming projects in the state. Teva is investing close to Rs 250 crore in Sanand through a joint venture with Proctor & Gamble (P&G) to make over-the-counter drugs. llinois-headquartered Abbott Laboratories is all set to enter Gujarat through its subsidiary Abbott India with a plant at Jhagadia near Bharuch.

The Rs 360 crore plant would make nutraceutical products.

Meanwhile, a pharma machinery cluster is also planned in Gujarat in order to boost the growing pharma industry in the state. A senior official in the state government informed that the location for the specialised pharma machinery cluster is yet to be decided, it can be at Sanand near Ahmedabad or Hansalpur near Mehsana.

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