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Even During Second Wave, Gujarat Received Highest Ever GST And Proposals For Large FDI, Says Manoj Das, ACS Gujarat
Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Manoj Kumar Das speaks with BW Businessworld on the steps taken to address the current Covid19 crisis. In charge of industrial growth of the Gujarat, he talks about the measures that government has already taken-- the Rs 5000 cr land allocation to MSEMs. While the economy seems to be retracting due to the national crisis, Das says Gujarat is still on growth trajectory and robust FDI continues last month as per the latest data.
Photo Credit :
Manoj Kumar Das, Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat
In the light of exploding Covid19 cases, what is Gujarat government doing in terms of soaring up health infrastructure/ facility?
Manoj Das: With the increase in COVID-19 cases, Gujarat began expansion of the health infrastructure in the state. Details regarding the number of facilities in each of the categories and the number of beds in such facilities have been demonstrated in a tabular form hereunder:
No. of Facilities
Total No. of Beds
The available beds in the state were 91,924 as on 23.04.2021, out of which 51,288 beds were oxygen beds, while 11,712 were ICU beds.
As on 05.05.2021, the total number of beds has increased to 1,04,849 beds and the total Oxygen beds available in the State were 59,121 and ICU beds were 13,678. The total number of Ventilators available for treatment are 6,452.
Further, the State Government has permitted all private nursing homes, clinics and hospitals, to treat COVID patients without any specific approval from the Collector or the Municipal Commissioner and thus, doing away with the requirement of official designation of a facility as a COVID facility. The medical facilities only have to inform the concerned State authority regarding the same.
The Government has also mandated 75% reservation of beds in private hospitals for COVID patients. Therefore, the number of beds for COVID treatment have been increased from 79,944 on 18.04.2021 to 1,04,849 on 05.05.2021.
The State has also initiated a campaign, titled, “Maru Gam, Corona Mukt Gam” for creating awareness at the village level and involving the entire village community including political and religious leaders in this battle against COVID-19. The State government has instructed all Collectors and District Development Officers to start COVID Care Centers at each village with community participation for COVID patients who do not have enough facility at home for isolation.
How are you ramping up oxygen supply crisis? Being the hub of many industries, do you see the possibility of offering surplus oxygen to other states in crisis?
Manoj Das: With the rising demand of the medical oxygen, the state government has augmented the supply of oxygen for COVID-19 patients with the help of companies manufacturing medical oxygen.
With the increase in demand of oxygen to 1250 MT, the Government of India has allocated 975 MT of oxygen and the state Government has requested the Government of India to further allocate 200 MT of liquid oxygen to mitigate the gap.
In order to fill the gap, the state government has given additional licenses and enabled supply of bottled oxygen from 20 small Air Separation unit (ASU) & Bottlers. These 20 ASU contribute more than 100 MT of bottled oxygen daily.
Besides, the government is working with industry to convert nitrogen PSA plants into oxygen PSA plants and 15 such plants are in the process to be operational further enhancing the oxygen generation capacity by 25-30 MT.
Under the PM Care scheme, 5 Pressurized Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants have been sanctioned by Government of India which are operational in Himmatnagar, Vadnagar, Valsad, Surat and Chhota Udepur. Two more plants will be operational within a day or two in Morbi and Navsari.
In order to further augment the supply of oxygen, the government has approved use of oxygen bottling facilities in Kachchh and Alang to fill cylinders.
With the spike in the COVID-19 hospitalizations in major cities, the government has launched ‘Control Rooms’ to maintain oxygen supply chain networks in the state. The state has been able to manage the oxygen supply by continuous monitoring of oxygen usage by hospitals. Additionally, real time monitoring of the oxygen demand has resulted in successfully managing the supply chain. I along with my senior secretaries are 24*7 monitoring the demand- supply scenario at all hospitals and ensuring constant supply of the oxygen.
Gujarat has been managing the crisis of oxygen shortage on the principle of non-disruption of pre-existing supply chain and service areas. In order to meet the demand by other states, Gujarat has re-assigned oxygen supply of 160 MT to Madhya Pradesh, 125 MT to Maharashtra, 45 MT to Uttar Pradesh, 40 MT to Rajasthan and 20 MT to Uttarakhand thus supporting other states in their need for oxygen.
Though cases for the last days are falling, but testing rates are also decreasing in Gujarat. What are the new guidelines to address this?
Manoj Das: Government of Gujarat is following the guideline provided by the ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India time to time.
In terms of testing, we have always followed the guideline of ICMR. Any person willing to get COVID test, is tested at any facility. All symptomatic patients and high-risk contacts of COVID positive patients are also tested.
No person is denied for testing at any center. Testing depends on the positivity rate.
Considering this, there is a decline in positivity rate in many districts and hence the number of testing is going down, However, in districts where positivity rate is not reducing number of testing is higher.
What is your policy strategy for the migrant workers as they lend to flee amid the fear of lockdown?
Manoj Das: Migrant workers are the key contributors to Gujarat’s overall development. We are constantly monitoring the current situation and there are no migrant labourers leaving the state. However, the state government and the private sector are taking measures that workers do not face any trouble.
Considering the second wave of COVID-19, the state government has imposed restrictions and night curfews to contain the spread of covid infections. However,, industrial units, banking and finance establishments as well as construction activities have been allowed with an attendance of 100% along with implementation of COVID guidelines.
Looking at the current scenario, situation is under control and there is no need for a complete lockdown as it would trigger another round of migration of laborer which would severely impact the industries in the state and other states too.
Any specific plan for industry which is facing difficulties due to lockdown? Will it impact ongoing investment drive and retain growth in Gujarat?
Manoj Das: There is no lockdown. Only Shops (except those dealing with essential commodities) are closed and home deliveries are on.There is no real demand for any package as Industry is doing well.
We have already allotted land for investment of Rs 5000 to medium and small industry during the current wave of pandemic.
Lands have been allocated in Dahej, halol( near vadodara) and saykha( bharuch)
Apart from these there are some large investment proposals and MoUs worth Rs 5000 cr will be signed shorty.
Gujarat has been driving the economic growth by focusing on proactive governance, transparent and investor friendly relations, robust infrastructure and conducive policies.
Industries in Gujarat have been flourishing and in fact Gujarat witnessed highest ever GST collection last month. Rise in power and gas consumption by industry is a strong signal of recovery and indicates a strong consumer sentiment.
Gujarat’s competitiveness is reflected in the FDI. Even during this second wave, we have received few proposals for large investment in Gujarat.
As per the data released by DPIIT, Gujarat received highest FDI worth Rs 1.58 lakh crore (USD 21.24 bn) during Apr – Dec 2020 and during the first six months of 2020-21. it has registered a growth of 550% over last year.
With this momentum, Gujarat is geared to attract investments and fuel the industrial growth to soar to newer heights.