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The average spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) by companies in India went up 29 basis points to 1.64 per cent last year, edging closer to the government mandate of 2 per cent.

The overall expenditure among companies in India on CSR activity registered a significant increase of 22 per cent, latest analysis by ratings agency CRISIL has revealed. The bulk of the CSR money went into education, skills development, healthcare and sanitation initiatives.

Against the backdrop of the 2017 Vibrant Gujarat summit, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani takes time out for ‘India Investment Journal’ to trace the state’s journey to be recognised as one of the country’s most investor-friendly destinations.

What is Gujarat doing to maintain its lead in the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings?

Gujarat has always been the frontrunner of creating investor friendly ecosystem. It is enthralling to see that there is a stiff competition among the states and they are also aggressively adopting measures to enhance the business environment.

Gujarat has implemented a large number of critically important reforms in the state which has enhanced transparency and improved efficiency of the government. As per the rankings of 2016, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have overtaken Gujarat by a slight margin. However, this is a sign of healthy competition between Indian states, and we shall surely bounce back next year. Some of the areas where Gujarat is a clear national leader in EODB rankings are: Availability of Land Information, Environmental Registration, Inspections, and Obtaining Electricity Connection. We have a very Information Technology driven approach to facilitating approvals and disseminating information in these domains.

A leading Indian industrialist traces the Gujarat development story and lays out the many opportunities in specific sectors for foreign investors.

As businesses prepare to deal with these bouts of uncertainty, they would obviously be looking for destinations that offer good prospects for growth and where policies are being calibrated to unlock potential of the domestic economy as well as reap benefits of aligning with regional value chains. India is one such country, perhaps one of the very few in the world, that fits into this category.

As we enter the year 2017 and review the global economic outlook, we see a horizon that is quite challenging. Global economic growth is still weak. Strategic and economic relations among major countries are undergoing a change. Global trade architecture is in for a makeover, with priorities being redefined by countries.

The event, launched by Modi in 2003 to showcase his state, has emerged as India’s largest investment promotion meet.

Many Indian intellectuals who see things only through the prism of their own ideology call Gujarat the laboratory of a divisive communal agenda, where ideas, policies and processes were honed and perfected and then rolled out across India. This is the view they hold and this is what they disseminate to the world at large.

GIFT City in the state of Gujarat, located near Ahmedabad airport, has been classified as the country’s model Smart City. ‘India Investment Journal’ caught up with its Managing Director & Group CEO, Ajay Pandey, during a visit to London to explore why it offers the ideal blueprint for India’s Smart City drive.

Gujarat has forever been the land of brave entrepreneurs and industry friendly policies have led to the proliferation of many successful micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Fifty-two-year-old Kishore Patel of Ankleshwar based printing and packaging firm Techno Packaging credits his success to the business friendly and technology savvy nature of his state Gujarat. Patel started out from a small godown (warehouse) in 1998 supplying cartons and labeling equipment to local industries in the vicinity. His familiarity with computers and an inherent urge to expand the business matched other similar entrepreneurs around and he quickly graduated to more sophisticated offset colour printing, scanning and visualisers. As businesses grew big feeding on the state’s industry friendly policies, so did Patel.

January 2017 marks the 8th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The event, held every two years since 2003, has become a hub of business activity for a state recognised worldwide for its investor-friendly ecosystem. A UK-based entrepreneur who led Britain’s first-ever delegation to the summit gives ‘India Investment Journal’ his insights.

As Gujarat races ahead in its growth story, there is a strong crop of young professionals and entrepreneurs propelling this journey. ‘India Investment Journal’ profiles a few of these next generation high-achievers.

Munjal M. Jaykrishna

Munjal is Joint Managing Director, AksharChem (India) Ltd, a manufacturer of Dye Intermediates (Vinyl Sulphone) and Pigments (CPC Green). Apart from being the largest exporter of Vinyl Sulphone in India with over 45 per cent share in exports, AksharChem also claims dominance in the export of CPC Green.

Under his stewardship, the company counts itself among the largest players in the field, with a global market share of 10 per cent.

“Our products have varying end user applications in Textile, Paint, Ink, Plastic, Rubber and Leather industry,” he explains.

The firm’s manufacturing facility is strategically located in the chemical belt of Gujarat, at Mehsana.