This article provides an overview of Gujarat for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- State capital: Gandhinagar
- Land area: 1,96,024 sq km
- Population (2011 census): 60,383,628
- Chief minister: Shri Vijaybhai R. Rupani
- Official language: Gujarati
- Other languages: English, Hindi, other Indian languages
- GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) (2015-2016): US$158.2 billion
- Major cities: Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhuj, Junagadh, Jamnagar
The Indian state of Gujarat is located on the country’s western coast, along the Arabian Sea. It encompasses the entire Kathiawar Peninsula as well as the surrounding area on the mainland. The state is bounded by Pakistan to the northwest and by the Indian states of Rajasthan to the north, Madhya Pradesh to the east and Maharashtra to the southeast. The coastline of Gujarat spans 1,596 km and no part of the state is more than 160 km from the sea. The capital is Gandhinagar, located on the outskirts of the north-central city of Ahmedabad. The largest city in the state and former capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is one of the most important textile centres in India.
Gujarat is reported to be among the top five Indian states in terms of gross state domestic product (GSDP) at constant prices, accounting for about 8 percent of India’s GDP. It was governed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi from 2001 to 2014 before his victorious bid to become India’s Prime Minster in 2014. Modi’s pro-business and foreign direct investment (FDI)-friendly policies transformed Gujarat, making it one of the fastest-growing Indian states. Gujarat’s per capita income is some 40 percent higher than the national average.
One of the leading industrialised states in India, Gujarat offers a model for economic progress and development for developing nations. Its significant contribution to the Indian economy has made India visible to a competitive market in recent times. An investor friendly destination in India, Gujarat is home to a luxurious lifestyle of business and investment, leisure, and pleasure.
An industrial powerhouse in West India, Gujarat’s share of industry is about 40 percent of its GSDP. Its major manufacturing sectors include petroleum products, chemicals, engineering, automobile and auto parts, textiles and garments, gems and jewellery, and pharmaceuticals. It is also known as the “Petrol Capital” of India and as an automobile manufacturing hub. The state government aims to turn Gujarat into a globally competitive and innovative industrial destination that promotes inclusive growth, sustainable development and skilled employment.
Gujarat is also a manufacturing hub for light industries such as textiles and electronics. Known as the “Manchester of the East” and “Denim City”, Gujarat is the largest producer (35 percent) and exporter (60 percent) of cotton among Indian states, and is the third-largest denim producer in the world. Its textile industry alone accounts for 6 percent of the state’s industrial production, while contributing 12 percent of India’s total textile exports. The state is also the world’s largest producer of processed diamonds, accounting for 72 percent of the world’s processed diamond share and 80 percent of India’s diamond exports. There are 106 product clusters and 60 notified special economic zones (SEZs). Large scale investment is expected in Gujarat as part of the US$90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
Foreign Trade & Investment
Gujarat is among the top five FDI destinations in India, reporting a cumulative FDI of US$12.1 billion as of September 2015. Gujarat’s exports of US$59 billion in FY 2014-15 ranked second in India after Maharashtra. Gujarat accounted for 4.97 percent in the overall FDI inflows in India in 2017. The vibrant Saurashtra Expo and Summit, held in Rajkot in January 2016, saw the signing of MoUs worth US$341.88 million for the development of the state’s various sectors.
Stretching into the Arabian Sea, Gujarat is renowned for its beaches, temple towns, palaces and historic capitals. Wildlife sanctuaries, hill resorts and natural grandeur add to its beauty. The state’s major attractions include the only habitat of the Asiatic lions in India (Gir Forests), the Wild Ass Sanctuary and the Indo-Saracenic architecture of Ahmedabad. The colourful tribal villages of Kutch are also popular tourist destinations. Gujarat’s vast coastline is home to unique marine species and its varied geographical locations make it a melting pot of culture, people, places and history.
The state boasts impressive growth rates in terms of tourist footfall. It accomplished a 16.9 percent growth in tourist arrivals in FY17 over the previous year. Gujarat’s tourist inflow grew from 38.3 million in FY16 to 44.8 million in FY17. Business remained the dominant purpose of visit, at 55 percent of tourist inflow, followed by spiritual tourists at 36 percent.
Singapore and Gujarat
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore signed MoUs with the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) and Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) in January 2017 to help Singapore companies expand into the market. The purpose of the partnership was to facilitate business collaboration for Singapore companies in manufacturing, logistics services and port technologies.
IE Singapore’s Assistant CEO, Mr Tan Soon Kim, said, “Gujarat is an energy surplus state and produces one-fifth of India’s exports. While it has some operational challenges common in emerging economies, the state remains one of the fastest-growing in India and holds good long-term potential for Singapore companies.” Singapore companies that have a presence in Gujarat include DBS, Sembcorp Green Infra, Singapore International Arbitration Centre and Tong Garden.