GIDC Pioneering Initiatives for Green Manufacturing and Skill Development

Rahul Gupta IAS

Green hydrogen production has been earmarked as a thrust sector, meaning it receives special attention and benefits under the state’s incentive schemes. These incentives are part of a broader strategy by the Gujarat government to promote cleaner and greener manufacturing practices, shares Rahul Gupta, IAS, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation in an exclusive interaction with Kaanchi Chawla and Shalini Rawat of Elets News Network (ENN). Edited excerpts:

What policy incentives and infrastructural support is the state government providing to attract green investments in Gujarat?

In Gujarat, the state government has implemented a series of policy incentives and infrastructural support to foster green investments, particularly in the field of green hydrogen production. A notable initiative is the specific land allotment policy, introduced by the Energy and Petrochemicals Department. This policy is designed to facilitate project proponents who are keen on establishing a manufacturing base in Gujarat for green hydrogen production. Under this policy, land is allotted by the government to support these green projects.

Green hydrogen production has been earmarked as a thrust sector, meaning it receives special attention and benefits under the state’s incentive schemes. These incentives are part of a broader strategy by the Gujarat government to promote cleaner and greener manufacturing practices. The incentives are not limited to land allotment but extend to various other schemes. These schemes are structured to not only incentivize but also actively encourage manufacturers to adopt more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, aligning with the state’s commitment to sustainable development and green energy.

In light of the increasing global focus on sustainable development, could you elaborate on the measures that the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) is implementing to ensure that industrial expansion in Gujarat is environmentally sustainable?

Certainly, there are two key initiatives that GIDC is undertaking in this regard. Firstly, we have introduced the ‘Smart GIDC Industrial Estates’ concept. These estates are smart not only in terms of digitisation but also in sustainability. By sustainability, I mean the development of specialised common infrastructure facilities tailored to specific industrial needs. For instance, in a chemical industrial estate, where effluent production is significant and environmentally hazardous, GIDC promotes the establishment of common effluent treatment plants and deep sea disposal pipelines. We are also developing sites for the disposal of solid wastes (T-S D-F sites), ensuring that industrial effluents do not harm the environment.

Secondly, such infrastructure requires substantial capital investment, often beyond the capacity of individual industrial units. By providing these common facilities, GIDC aims to reduce the investment burden on these units, enhancing their competitiveness both nationally and globally. Additionally, as part of our sustainability efforts, we have embarked on deep-sea disposal pipeline projects at four different locations – Vapi, Sarigam, Surat, Ankleshwar. These areas, primarily hubs for chemical industries, will benefit from this initiative. With an investment of over 2,000 crore rupees, these pipelines will significantly reduce environmental pollution.

In the spirit of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, what initiatives has GIDC taken to promote Gujarat as an attractive destination for both domestic and international investors?

In the runup to the summit, we have announcedestablishment of numerous sector-specific industrial parks. A key attraction for international investors is the availability of ‘plug and play’ infrastructure. This concept entails providing investors with ready-to-use facilities, eliminating the need for them to construct or arrange basic amenities like electricity, water, and gas. The GIDC is spearheading this initiative by developing parks tailored to specific industries. For instance, a Ceramic park is underway at Jambudia in Morbi, a Medical Device park at Nagalpar in Rajkot, a PM Mitra Textile park at Navsari, and a Bulk Drug park in Jambusar. In Bharuch, we’re focusing on food processing parks, and in Rajkot and Banaskantha, seafood processing parks are in development. These parks will offer specialised infrastructure, reducing the need for investors to invest in these facilities themselves. This approach is poised to attract a substantial number of domestic and international investors to these sectors, significantly boosting industrial growth in Gujarat.

How are the funds allocated for developing parks contributing to the welfare of rural communities?

The creation of industrial estates or parks in any region primarily benefits the local community in two significant ways. Firstly, it leads to the generation of employment opportunities. The establishment of these parks often results in numerous job openings for the local residents.

Secondly, the development of an industrial park typically stimulates the growth of ancillary and service industries in the surrounding area. This, in turn, further supports the local economy by enhancing the service sector, which is known for being a substantial source of employment. Therefore, these developments contribute to both direct and indirect job creation and economic growth in the area.

How is GIDC contributing to skill development and employment generation in Gujarat, especially in the context of the new industrial projects?

The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has a policy of offering land within its estates for specific developmental purposes. For instance, if someone wishes to establish a skill development centre or a mini Industrial Training Institute (ITI), GIDC offers the land at 50% of the standard allotment price. This initiative places significant emphasis on skill development, particularly in light of emerging sectors like semiconductors, green hydrogen, electric mobility, drone technology, and space-related manufacturing. These industries require a unique skill set that may not currently be widely available. Therefore, by providing land at subsidised rates, GIDC enables the establishment of centres of excellence and mini ITIs within its estates. These centres aim to train and upskill individuals, preparing them for employment in these industries located within the same estate.

What measures are being taken by GIDC to ensure the smooth implementation of the ‘Make in India’ initiative at the state level?

The GIDC may not have specific measures uniquely targeting the ‘Make in India’ initiative, as its primary function is to attract both domestic and international businesses for manufacturing, which inherently supports the initiative. However, the Government of Gujarat’s Industrial Policy 2020 encompasses the ‘Aatmanirbhar Gujarat’ schemes, designed to assist industries. This policy places significant emphasis on the ‘Make in India’ initiative by offering incentives to young entrepreneurs, thus fostering a culture of risk-taking. Additionally, it promotes value addition within the state, supports employmentintensive activities, and encourages start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The policy is firmly aligned with the ethos of ‘Make in India’.

Regarding the support mechanisms for startups and entrepreneurs, particularly in innovation and research, what role does GIDC play in supporting start-ups and incubation centres in Gujarat?

Within the GIDC framework, there’s a significant emphasis on aiding Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups. A key policy is the provision of land at concessional rates. This is crucial since startups and MSMEs often face capital constraints, especially in terms of working capital. Recognising this, GIDC offers land to these entities at rates substantially lower than those for larger industries. This is part of a broader initiative to encourage and promote these enterprises in their initial stages.

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Furthermore, the Government of Gujarat has introduced a special provision to further empower MSMEs and startups. Under this provision, any MSME wishing to establish a new unit in Gujarat can do so without needing to secure certain approvals and permissions for the first three years. This means that an MSME can purchase land and commence operations without the immediate need for building approvals or other permissions. The government provides a window of three and a half years (including an additional six months) for these entities to obtain the necessary permissions and approvals at any point within that time frame. This approach significantly eases the initial operational burdens for startups and MSMEs in the region.

Could you shed light on any forthcoming projects that GIDC is orchestrating, particularly those that will benefit the state?

GIDC is actively engaged in the creation of industrial estates within the state of Gujarat, along with the development of industrial infrastructure. We have several infrastructural projects underway, including the deep sea disposal pipeline project. Currently, we are working on establishing numerous new industrial estates. To give you an idea, 18 estates are already under development, with another 18 planned for the future. In the coming 18 months, we expect to launch about 36 new industrial estates in stages. So, there’s a significant amount of activity in the pipeline.

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