CNBC-TV18, NDTV-Profit and other mediacrooks of business news were busy all of yesterday with mundane statistics. How growth slowed down in November 2010 and blah blah blah! The only newsworthy story they carried was Indigo’s plan to buy 180 new aircrafts. That’s the single largest deal in commercial aviation history and one which can bring cheers. That would be worth around $ 15.6 billion. Cheers to Indigo! From from Paris where Indigo sealed that purchase there was an event in small time India that was far bigger, had big national and international players and has become some sort of roadmap to progress. Vibrant Gujarat.
If one were to go by the sound bytes of major business channels or news channels the Vibrant Gujarat event would appear to be some small time village mela for cattle trade. The only channels covering the event were local and some national Gujarati language channels. The major business and news channels only found space for the event on their websites, perhaps grudgingly so. For anything remotely connected to Gujarat or Narendra Modi is anti-India to them. So be it!
It is Gujarat though that is having the last laugh. Some minor details are mind boggling:
|Mahatma Mandir - Venue of Vibrant Gujarat 2011|
1. The worth of investment commitments is around 1/3rd of the national GDP itself.
2. Over 25000 international and national business, political and diplomatic delegates attended the two-day Vibrant Gujarat event on January 12
3. 2076 MOUs signed worth $333 Bn or 15 lakh crores.
In the season of scams this would have been something to cheer about. But as is the practice with our media, anything to do with Gujarat is a non-event. In an investment summit such as this, one would have thought that the central Commerce and Finance ministers would be interested as it makes a big difference to the Indian economy. Well, its not a Congress government in Gujarat so that doesn’t count for India to them.
Is there criticism? Sure, Shaktisinh Gohil, leader of Congress in Gujarat says only a fraction of the MOUs actually materialise and much of the land to big industrialists is given away at throw away prices. First, yes all of the MOUs may not finally translate into investments. However, even if a good fraction of the 15lakh crore ($ 333Bn) MOUs materialise it is still a huge investment. Compare this to the fact that Obama came shopping and went back home happy with commitments worth $ 10Bn. That should put it in perspective. And if land is being given away at throwaway prices as Gohil would suggest we are yet to hear complaints from those who sold their lands unlike in Singur (Bengal).Vibrant Gujarat and such events bring hope. Instead, the media is caught up with the nonsense of Rahul Gandhi’s utterances.
One would fervently hope that other states in India pick up this lead and set up events, systems and practices that put them and their people on the road to being busy with healthy economic activities. The good news is, Vibrant Gujarat may well recover the worth of all the UPA scams put together.