05 August, 2021

Free Lunches: Gujarati Thalis

Whether resources or subsidies, capital-intensive industries rule the Gujarat roost

AFP (From Outlook 10 March 2014)
Free Lunches: Gujarati Thalis

During the Vibrant Gujarat summit in 2011, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was seen being venerated by the bigwigs of Indian industry, from Ratan Tata to Mukesh Ambani, for his grand vision of dev­elopment. It figures. The development model has increasingly come to be skewed in favour of capital-intensive mega industries.

This is evident not just in project allocation but also in terms of resources, be it finances, subsidies, land or natural wealth. If Adani tops the list of Modi’s favourites in popular perception, the Ambanis, Tatas, Essar, Torrent Power follow closely. Many like Welspun, Zydus Cadila, Nirma, Lalbhais etc are giving way to others as front-runners for subsidies that are huge by any standard, whether capital subsidy, interest subsidy, infrastructure subsidy, sales tax and now VAT subsidy. The capital is being provided at just 0.1 per cent interest with an average of a 20-year moratorium on repayment, stretched in some cases to over 40 years. Besides land, water and other natural resources come at throwaway prices.

A rough calculation...

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