Gujarat of India poised to become a Global Trading Hub
Dr Srimal Fernando- South Asia Correspondent.
Gujarat is one of the most prosperous states of India. It is the home to some extraordinary natural wonders and most fascinating temples, pagodas, museum, forts and palaces. Historically, the culture of the state is composite and over centuries it has assimilated influences of several religions. Its population of 60 million (2011 estimates) is scattered across 18,000 villages and is rich and varied as the land. Strategically situated on the western tip of India the state covers an area of 196,030 square kilometers with a coastline of 1,600 kilometers. Due to its strategic location Gujarat has been the grand gateway to a fascinating destinations and vice-versa. Over the centuries, Gujarat has boasted having people excelled in many fields. Amongst them and perhaps the most famous personality of all time is Mohandas Gandhi often called Mahatma the founding father of Modern India. The capital of Gujarat the Gandhi-nagar is a bustling affluent town with glitzy shopping malls, boutiques and colorful markets which houses the intellectual elite as well as the seat of the Gujarat government. Ahmedabad is the largest city of Gujarat. The state is undergoing rapid changes and developments with rising modern buildings besides the 19th century structures and buildings. Even today both modern and ancient culture is visible all over the city of Ahmedabad.
The state of Gujarat also known as the growth engine of India has made a significant head way into the international market in the world. Today the predominantly agriculture-based Gujarati economy shift towards a more multi-sector economy after a robust growth .
The success of Gujarat’s economic sphere has been attributed to Mr.Narendra Modi. Recently the TIME magazine published Mr Modi on the cover page. The state government headed by Modi has made efforts to modernize and reform Gujarat’s economic policy under a vigorous program of Panchamrut Yojana, a five-pronged strategy for an integrated development of the state. Panchamrut strategy has been boosting productivity and moved people in to positions of greater ability. Moreover, the economy benefited from the close cooperation between the public and private sectors.
There are thousands of agricultural cooperatives and agri-businesses throughout the state. Although the commercial farming sector in the state is relatively well developed, people in some rural areas still survive on subsistence agriculture. The agricultural sector continues to employ a significant proportion of the labor force. The state is the main producer of sugar cane, dates, tobacco, cotton, and groundnuts in India. Today, the state has brought about revolutionary improvements in its dairy and animal husbandry sectors. Gujarat is India’s largest dairy producer, and production has taken major leaps specially in quality. With a long coastline the state fishing industry is rich in resources.
The Ports of Kandla on the Gulf of Kutch in the State of Gujarat is one of the busiest sea ports on the west coast of India. .In 2010 the amount of cargo handled at the Kandla port rose to 79.5 million tones. The Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was the first special economic zone to be established in whole of Asia.
Gujarats’ transport infrastructure is relatively advanced and is the backbone of the state. The state has launched several high way projects to bolster the 137,617 kilometers of state transport system .Having doubled in length in recent years; multi-lane expressways now connect several major cities with more constructions. The railway system covers a total length of 5,188 kilometres. The burgeoning high end industries based at three operational Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Gujarat in Kandla, Sur and Surat yield many opportunities for investments. Electricity output of the state is well developed. Gujarat is one of the largest electricity producers in the country. Eight percent of countries gas-based thermal electricity generation and one percent of national nuclear electricity generation is powered by 23 thermal and nuclear plants. The state government is expanding into renewable energy sources. Gujarat is the only state with surplus electricity that sold power to twelve other states of India.
Handicrafts of the state are the symbol of rich socio-cultural heritage. Gujarati exquisite ethnic saris, salwar-kameez, outstanding terracotta work, wood-carvings and jewelry making are famous all over the world. The expansion of tourism in the state continues to achieve spectacular gains in recent years. According to the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) 300,840 foreign tourist visited the state in the year 2008. Since then the tourism of the state has grown at an annual rate of eight percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Amitabh Bachchan the famous Bolly-wood cinematic celebrity is promoting Gujarat as a favorite tourist destination at major travel trade fairs.
The Gujarat government considers industry to be an integral part of its plan to diversify the economy .High levels of investment played a significant role in the economy of the state and is one of the highest per capita income states in India. Industry account for approximately 16 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP) .The sector provides job opportunities to the vast majority of the people in the state. Electronics, IT, textiles, petrochemicals, cement and pharmaceuticals are the major industries in the Gujarat state that experienced rapid growth.
Gujarat has modern, advanced, well-developed, fast, and fully automated telex, data and telephone services. The telecommunication sector is well developed in the state with millions of mobile cellular subscribers and broadband internet access. The states banking sector has been faring relatively well. The private sector banks account for more than 6,000 branches.
In 2012 Gujarat is expected to be one of the fastest growing states in India. It is considered to be one of the most important spots in the world that has a wide scope to become a global trading hub.