Toronto, Sep 7 (Calcutta Tube) A 16-member Gujarat business delegation began a week-long visit to Canada to woo businesses and companies to participate in the fifth annual ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ Summit to held Jan 12-13 in Gandhinagar.
Held biennially immediately after Pravasi Bharatiya Divas since 2003, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit is aimed at attracting foreign investment and knowhow into the state.
In a major boost to the state, Canada became the first western country in July to partner with the Gujarat Vibrant Summit.
Led by Gujarat principal secretary (energy) D.J. Pandian, the delegation is here to interact with government leaders, and construction, energy, engineering, aviation, mining and infrastructure companies to seek Canadian investment and knowhow. It has already met Ontario provincial ministers for environment and government services to explore joint ventures between the two states.
The delegation comprises more than a dozen big companies such as Reliance, Adani Power, Torrent Power, Suzlon, Cadila, Hazira LNG Ltd, Amos, iNDEXTb, Welspun Industries, Technopolis, Sai Infosystems, CII as well as Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University.
‘We are a broad delegation from various sectors – minerals, power, ports, nuclear energy, trading, chemicals and education, and our aim is to discuss mutual interests with Canadian companies and invite them to come to Gujarat. We are here to attract businesses and venture capitalists and promote joint ventures,” Pandian told IANS Monday.
He said the delegation will tell Canadian venture capitalists that India offered returns of 15-20 percent as against just 3-4 percent here.
Pandian said, ‘Canada is known for its technical knowhow, agricultural products, educational standards, minerals as well as sound business practices and rules. So we are meeting potential Canadian companies, universities (like Toronto University) and business bodies on one-to-one basis so that they know what we offer.”
Since Canada has just opened a new trade office in Gujarat, Pandian said, ‘We discussed the possibility of having a similar Gujarati presence here (in the Indian high commission) to promote business ties between Ontario and our state.”
Pandian said the visit will do the groundwork with Canadian companies for various memoranda to be signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
Hemant Desai, who is representing Reliance Industries Ltd, told IANS, ‘Though we are here to market the whole state, I am here to tell potential companies that Gujarat offers limitless opportunities. I am here to tell them that from a small textile plant in 1970, Reliance is a $20 billion group in that state alone.”
Lauding Chief Minister Narendra Modi for this initiative, Samir Patel, chairman of Amos Enterprises, said, ‘The CM has sent not only bureaucrats but also business groups because he understands that outsiders will have believe more what Gujarati businesses say.”
Added businessman Hemant Shah, ‘This is one of the five or six such delegations visiting different parts of the world to sell Gujarat to businesses before the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. This idea has met with a huge success.”
Apart from Toronto, the delegation will also visit Regina, the capital of the uranium-rich Saskatchewan province, Winnipeg, the capital of agriculture-rich Manitoba province, and the national capital Ottawa.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)