Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government is targeting an ambitious 15% industrial growth for the next five years, but with a touch of green, as it drafts the state’s industrial policy for 2009-13.
“This makes it imperative for Gujarat to achieve the overall growth target of 11.2% fixed by the Planning Commission, and agricultural growth of 12%,” an official in the state industry department said. He did not want to be identified as he is not authorized to speak to media. “In addition to production growth, the new policy will aim to provide capital and interest subsidy to industries willing to invest in green technology,” the official said.
The thrust on environment-friendly technology is more a clean-up act in a state with sizeable investments in the chemical sector, said a senior bureaucrat in the state industry department.
The Ankleshwar-Panoli-Jhaghadia belt in Bharuch, a district in southern Gujarat, is one of the biggest chemical and pharmaceutical hubs in the country, with more than 2,000 units earning estimated revenues of Rs20,000 crore.
Of the 51 special economic zones (SEZs) in the state, seven are in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.
“Recent mishaps like in Ankleshwar and rising demand for cleaner products has forced the state government to think about attracting green technology,” the bureaucrat said.
In April, a fire broke at an inflammable toxic waste treatment plant in Ankleshwar. The plant was holding 100 times its capacity of waste and was not equipped to handle highly toxic substances.
According to the industry department official, the government plans to provide special incentives for investors setting up effluent treatment plants and landfills for industrial waste. The government is also expected to provide more teeth to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board in its industrial policy for 2009-13.
Industrial production in Gujarat grew at 12.6% between 2003 and 2008 under the existing industrial policy. The new policy, likely to firmed up in the next two-three months, will be marketed internationally as a precursor to the state’s global investors summit — Vibrant Gujarat 2009 — in January, an event that aims to attract investors from across the globe. The existing policy came into effect before the Gujarat government’s first investors summit in 2003.
Till March, Gujarat attracted investments worth Rs5.62 trillion, including Rs2.15 trillion for the electricity sector and Rs1.86 trillion for manufacturing. The state has also entered into memorandums of understanding for investments worth another Rs6.5 trillion, according to data provided by the government. Under its new investment policy, the government plans to give thrust to agri-businesses, textiles, gems and jewellery, mineral-based industries and ship building as well.
The new policy will also aim to create a special land bank for industries. Gujarat Industrial Development Corp. has already been instructed to acquire more than 50,000ha for this purpose, according to a government official familiar with the development.
To government is also expected to provide additional sops in its new policy to attract industries to economically and industrially backward areas and tribal regions in the state, he said.