Event ReportsPublished on Feb 01, 2005
Gujarat has the required natural resources, human potential and entrepreneurial spirit to become the engine of India¿s economic growth and achieve a growth rate of 20%.
Gujarat poised for 20% growth, concludes seminar
Gujarat has the required natural resources, human potential and entrepreneurial spirit to become the engine of India's economic growth and achieve a growth rate of 20%.This was the conclusion of the two-day national seminar on 'Gujarat 2010' on February 1-2, 2005 organised by the Ahmedabad chapter of the Observer Research Foundation.

Several eminent academicians from Gujarat and outside attended the seminar, which debated and discussed pressing social and economic issues confronting the state.

Inaugurating the seminar on February 1, 2005, Gujarat Governor Shri Naval Kishore Sharma said development should be equal and strategies should take into account all sections of the society. He said that more than 50% of Gujarat's population still depended on agriculture and care must be taken to involve them in the development process.

Mr. R.K. Mishra, Chairman ORF, said it has always been the endeavour of ORF to contribute to the policy and decision making process. He recalled that ORF's association with Gujarat dated back to the 1990s.

He said it is ORF's aim to tap into the knowledge base of the country. Appreciating the vibrant intellectual culture of Gujarat, Mr. Mishra said that ORF would continue and enhance its association with Gujarat.

Prof. Y.K. Alagh said Gujarat has been growing at 15-16% every year, which is one of the fastest growth rates in the world. He said with the right kind of policy intervention, Gujarat had the ability to grow even faster.

During the two days strategies to accelerate Gujarat's industrial development, especially in the manufacturing, textiles, pharma and gems and jewellery industries were discussed. In the pharma sector, the need for R&D was emphasized. In the gems and jewellery sector, it was revealed that the state is facing stiff competition from Israel in the diamond polishing industry. 

The seminar also discussed how could Gujarat catch with Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the Information Technology sector. From a policy point of view, it was recommended that a software technology park be established. The lack of institutions to impart IT education was also emphasised.

On the energy and infrastructure front, it was recommended that subsidy to farmers be targeted through the use of a coupon system where farmers were given a specific number of coupons amounting to certain number of units every month. The panelists also emphasised the need for a world-class infrastructure, especially an integrated road and rail network linking up the ports. With a 1600 kilometre coastline, strategies were discussed to channelise wind and tidal power for energy generation.

The seminar also discussed the advantages of the Sardar Sarovar Project. Prof. Alagh said that Gujarat was the first state in the country to link seven rivers. He said the waters of Narmada were now flowing in Sabarmati. It was also revealed that Gujarat is ready for a second green revolution and this revolution would involve value additions in the form of agro-based and food processing industries.

The seminar debated the human and gender development policies of the state. It was felt that the state should do a lot more for empowerment of women. It was argued that empowerment of women will lead to better health for the entire family, including lower infant mortality rates.

The seminar also discussed the need for highway network and a good mass rapid transit system for cities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara. It was also emphasised that environmentally friendly technologies and material are available for construction. The seminar also witnessed a lively and an intellectually stimulating panel discussion chaired by Prof. Abhijit Sen, Member Planning Commission. 

The panel discussion had Chief Secretary P.K. Laheri, Principal Secretary Manjula Subramaniam and Prof. Y.K. Alagh debating and discussing issues.

At the valedictory address, Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi thanked the Observer Research Foundation for organising the seminar and giving him crucial inputs for the Gujarat 2020 plan being worked out by the Gujarat government. Mr. Modi said Gujarat is poised for take off into a high growth path and reiterated his government's commitment towards it.

He unveiled his vision for Gujarat and said his government has taken several steps for all sections of the society, including the jyotigram scheme for rural electrification and community water management schemes.
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