Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017, which concluded last week in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, witnessed the signing of MoUs worth Rs 8,835 crore in the textile sector.
Welspun Group announced an investment of Rs 4,000 crore for three large textile projects in Gujarat. The three MoUs which were signed during the ‘Vibrant Gujarat 2017’ were announced by B K Goenka - Chairman, Welspun Group at the Summit.
"Our continuous investment in the state is a testament to our long term commitment to Gujarat. It is our aim to make Gujarat the textile hub of the world. Welspun continues to invest in development of well-researched products and technology of the future and the current investment is in line with this philosophy," said B K Goenka, Chairman, Welspun Group.
Amongst the larger of the three projects, Welspun will invest Rs 2,000 crore in developing an integrated Textile Manufacturing Zone. This will be a part of the Government of India's Sagarmala project where Kutch is among the first identified key locations. The company aims to develop a large, modern and futuristic textile industrial complex that will manufacture and supply world class textile products for the global markets.
Welspun will leverage on its expertise in developing industrial infrastructures. The Kutch facility will provide a unique ecosystem for entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing facilities. The project will generate direct employment of nearly 5,000 and will provide indirect employment to nearly 15,000 people.
Welspun will further invest Rs 1,000 crore in its technical textile business for capacity enhancement, addition of new products and training and skill development. Under this vertical, the company has already made its mark with products for specialised use such as fire retardant fabric, stain-resistant, anti-bacterial finished textiles, soil resistant textiles, etc. Most of these products are also recyclable. The project will give direct employment to nearly 1500 people.
Another Rs 1,000 crore is being invested in the Advanced Textile arm of Welspun that focuses on manufacturing specialised materials for applications in aerospace, defense and automobile sectors. The project will generate direct employment of 2000 persons and indirect employment of 5,000.
Welspun Group has already invested Rs 10,000 crore in Gujarat so far and fresh investments takes total investment to Rs 14,000 crore. Welspun's facility in Anjar is a global benchmark in the manufacturing sector, employing more than 30,000 people and providing livelihood to over 1 lakh people directly and indirectly.
The various MoUs signed in the textile sector are in various segments including textile parks, textile processing, textile engineering and machinery, carpet development. Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said that given the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujaratis and the investment inflow, the textile story of Gujarat has just begun.
Irani said as an area with one of the largest concentrations of textiles in India, Gujarat is a one-point sourcing hub for all kinds of textiles. The minister also said that there are huge possibilities in textile education in the state.
She was addressing the 'Make in Gujarat' theme seminar on Trends and Innovations impacting the Textile Value Chain, at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. She said that the skill development programme in the textile sector conducted at 28 ITIs of Gujarat running textiles courses has recorded a placement of 75%. The two major institutes of Gujarat, namely NIFT and NID, and various engineering colleges offer degrees in textile technology, textile processing and textile engineering.
Industry highlights need for informed policies to boost technical textiles
At a session on textiles, moderated by Textiles Commissioner Dr Kavita Gupta, which was also attended by Union textiles minister Smriti Irani, the government came in for sharp criticism by on its ambiguity on technical textiles.
As Gupta asked a panel comprising textile stalwarts on the roadmap for "technical textiles" at the session, Mohan Kavrie, MD of Supreme Nonwovens, said that the governments and successive textile commissioners had been promoting technical textiles for the past 15 years and urged the audience that it was "time to act".
Highlighting the lack of data and understanding by the government of this industry, Tushar Patel, MD of Sanrhea Technical Textiles Ltd and president of Ahmedabad Management Association, said, "All these white papers, put out by government bodies, are summaries and statistics databases, nothing to drive really the man who wants to get into technical textiles. I am into the mobiltech (automotive textiles) segment that enhances strength of a lot of rubber products. Mobiltech happens to be the largest segment in technical textiles. Unfortunately, there are so many things the government doesn't know about the depth of this industry, and this is reflected in the absence of proper policies and promotions, that dissuades others from entering into this segment. The result is that imports are rampant, and mock the `Make In India' initiative. Every month, container loads of materials are coming in - like conveyer belts - and who is the biggest buyer of conveyer belts - the Steel Authority of India & Coal India."
He added, "Nowhere in the world do you use nylon conveyer belts - it's polyester and it's cheaper and we have been making a more expensive product here. That data had to come from the government at a time when the government has been aggressively promoting technical textiles as the growth engine of the textile industry. We have to start off from our government and semi-government bodies' side to bring in more clarity and awareness."
Reacting to Patel, Gupta said his input was very "insightful" and added that they were having a seminar on technical textiles on Januray 18, urging him to come up with specific suggestions on what capacities the department requires.
Meanwhile, Taishan Fiberglass Inc, the second largest fiberglass producer in China, signed a Rs 1,700 crore MoU to set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant of fiberglass in Gujarat, which will be its first overseas plant.
Gujarat will see more investments in chemicals, infrastructure
After the removal of the moratorium on industrial expansion at Vatva, Vapi and Ankleshwar, chemical companies are now looking to expand and Vibrant Summit was the best platform to announce projects. As many as 215 industrial units in Vatva inked MoUs worth Rs 1,000 crore during the summit. In addition to this, 250 units from Naroda industrial area also signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 700 crore.
Gujarat attracts the largest investments because of its industrial policies, schemes and its infrastructure. To further enhance infrastructure, Adani Ports, India's largest private port and logistics company, announced that in the next five years, it will invest Rs 16,700 crore to expand capacity of all its Gujarat ports - Mundra, Dahej, Hazira and Tuna.
Roquette Riddhi Siddhi, a 100% French subsidiary owned by Roquette Group based in France, signed an MoU with the state government for their proposed Zero Liquid Discharge project.
Lulu to invest Rs 12,000 crore in Gujarat's retail sector
Lulu Group has committed to make an investment of Rs 10,000-12,000 crore in Gujarat. "Our Lulu Shopping Mall in Kochi, Kerala, is India's biggest shopping mall. In Ahmedabad, we are looking at opportunities to start a shopping mall, hotel and a mini convention and exhibition centre," said Yusuffali M A, MD.
Gujarat awaits a brand new startup policy this year
Gujarat will come up with a comprehensive startup policy this year that would be an extension of the policies already in place. Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation vice-chairperson D Thara said the new policy would be better and more practical. Existing policies will not be discontinued, she clarified.
The state is home to startups like Infibeam, Lendingkart, Let's Recycle, Axio Biosolutions and Trukky. In the last one year, some 30 investment deals have been struck in Gujarat, mainly through angel funding.
Ecommerce player Infibeam became India's first ecommerce startup to get listed raising Rs 450 crore. Fintech firm Lendingkart has raised $40 million from investors like Bertelsmann India, Darrin Capital Management, Mayfield India, Saama Capital and India Quotient.
In 2015, the state came out with startup-assistant schemes that were part of the larger Gujarat Industrial Policy. Last year, it brought in a more focused Information Technology Startup Policy, while two days ago, the state announced India's first student startup and innovation policy.
A seminar to get suggestions from the startup community was held on the second day of the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar where some 100 experts recommended incentivising large corporates to invest in startups.
"To create an ecosystem, we need to engage all players. We feel private sector should be incentivised to provide funds, mentorship in form of time. They can open their R&D labs through connected incubators," said Shriya Damani of coworking space DoubleO.
The seminar also favoured creating a mechanism for more fund flow and embed creativity from secondary school level to boost startup culture. Initiatives like Reward Actionable Initiatives that Stimulate Enterprises (RAISE) were also suggested for identifying and supporting agencies that can stimulate startups in the state.
The state government has roped in The Value Web, known for organising Davos World Economic Forum, to facilitate the seminar and find solutions to the existing challenges through a participatory approach. The primary suggestions will be collated and submitted to the government.
The 100 participants were divided into twelve groups, each group tasked with deciding upon a single major challenge faced by the startups in Gujarat and engaging into discussions to emerge with probable solutions.
"Action Seminar like this will immensely help startups as well as government to have structured policies in the states. That will boost the culture of innovations and IP-based entrepreneurship," said Jatin Trividi, a senior IPR lawyer from Ahmedabad.
Experts at the seminar opined that providing incentives to large corporates would encourage them to provide funds, mentorship as well as physical space, through incubators and accelerators. Other groups suggested free flow funds from local angel investors, successful entrepreneurs, mentors, industrial houses, banks and academicians. The groups also insisted on policy support.
Assam, Arunachal woo investors in Vibrant Gujarat Summit
Assam has enacted the Ease of Doing Business Act, 2016 a few months ago, and has also become the first state in the country to approve the GST.
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, have gone all out to woo investors during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, with both states pointing out that the Northeast was India's Gateway to Southeast Asia, a market that could be best explored through this region. "Assam, as the biggest economy in the North-eastern region, has the potential of being the pivot of India's Act East policy. There is a large market comprising Bangladesh, Myanmar and the ASEAN waiting to be accessed for investment. While the region was all along looked at as a periphery, it is time we look at Assam as a perfect business gateway and as the centre of the Indo-ASEAN partnership and interface," Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said.
Patowary particularly focussed on the immense potential in sectors like pharma, bamboo, hydrocarbon, textiles, tea and horticulture, and said that seamless accessibility to the region through a strong network of roadways, railways, airways and inland waterways in Assam was now available to the investors.
"Assam has enacted the Ease of Doing Business Act, 2016 a few months ago, and has also become the first state in the country to approve the GST.
In Assam, a single window clearance system has been set up for providing online clearance and permission in fixed time frame," Patowary said.
He also interacted with industry leaders like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani on the inaugural day of the Global Summit and appraised them about the current conducive industrial environment in Assam.
Arunachal opening up: Khandu
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu said his state, with its strategic location between Bhutan, China and Myanmar vis-à-vis government of India's Act East Policy, offers immeasurable opportunities.
Interacting with entrepreneurs on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Khandu invited investments in agriculture, horticulture and tourism sectors immediately to begin with. "Arunachal Pradesh is favourably situated between the huge markets of mainland India in the South and South-Asian countries," he said.
Khandu also said that while Arunachal Pradesh remained closed to investors from outside due to its remoteness and poor market, the state was now opening up its treasure trove with better communication network like the Trans-Arunachal Highway, several Advance Landing Grounds, and extension of railway lines, better bridges, and a more congenial atmosphere of doing brisk business.