Experts Say, “#GujaratExodus may hit the new investments …”

AHMEDABAD | VADODARA | SURAT | RAJKOT – #GujaratExodus, process of workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh travelling back to their home, may trigger a situation, which may hit the new investments, especially when the Vibrant Gujarat 2019, Global Investors Summit is around, industry experts from across the state fear the phenomena.

Industries which may take the hit includes powerloom, processing factories, real estate projects, floor and roofing tiles manufacturing units, fabrication factories and the emerging auto-hub in Sanand, Mehsana North Gujarat area, experts claim.

Irrespective of the political blamegame which has triggered political battle, following the incident of a 14-month old minor raped allegedly by a Bihari labour in North Gujarat, the labors residing in that area have started travelling back to their native states via rail-road routes, fearing life threat.

The versions of migrant labours appearing in several media reports claim of they moving back to their home-state is mainly due to the life-threats they have been receiving from local residents.

Gujarat’s Director Inspector General of Police Shivanand Jha has taken precautionary measures to assure necessary law & order situation be maintained and appropriate police bandobast has been deployed across the state at such sensitive areas.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has also assured necessary measures to prevent exodus of labour force from Gujarat, but the damage has already been done, experts opine.


LABOUR FORCE DATA

According to senior government officials working with labour and industries departments in the state, claim of atleast 40,000-41,000 factories registered with respective departments.

“Set-ups having mandate to get registered vide the industrial safety norms are registered with these state departments, each factory having license to operate can employ minimum 10 labours upto 250 labours,” senior government told DATELINE GUJARAT.

Data of the labour capacity deployment amidst this establishments, it is observed that force of 1.6 million to 1.7 million labours is engaged with such registered and organized manufacturing set-ups located across the state, official said.

However, DATELINE GUJARAT learns from several government sources that, the 1.6 million-1.7 million labour force data is not bifurcated into migrant and local labour force.

Also, there is no data available on the labour force working or employed in unorganized or informal sector in Gujarat.


SECTORS ON RADAR

Maximum migrant force across the state is deployed in South Gujarat, Central Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch region.

They dominate the

  • Powerloom and Textiles sector in Surat, in South Gujarat
  • Triangular ceramic zone at Thangadh-Wankaner-Morbi,  in Saurashtra Region 
  • Processing establishments across the state.
  • Fabrication factories across the state
  • Construction sector across the state
  • Tile fixing craftsman across the state
  • Precious metal kaarigari, mainly in Rajkot and Jamnagar districts.

 

Graphic Representation to indicate sectoral participation in Vibrant Gujarat 2017


“The process of migrant labour forces moving out of Gujarat has already done a great harm to Gujarat’s image,” says Dr. Jay Narayan Vyas, A Thinker, The Statesman and An Economist.

Gujarat has a business history of having grown from home-grown SME/MSME (Small Medium Enterprises / Medium Small Medium Enterprises) investments between year 1960 to 1990.

From year 1990 onwards the state started attracting investments in from across the corporate, multinational and conglomerate entities, primely due to labor peace environment prevailing in the state and port-road infrastructure connectivity.


AUTO INVESTMENTS IN FRAY

The epicentre of the whole matter in North Gujarat, mainly Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts, experts see the automobile manufacturing set-ups located in auto-hub surrounding Sanand, Mehsana, Sabarkantha (Himmatnagar) districts likely to take a hit.

Majority of the car, two-wheelers manufacturing companies are spread in this belt, which includes Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Tata Motors, Honda Motorcycles Scooters India Ltd, Ford and allied auto-ancillary units.

Image from narendramodi.in of State Support Agreement between Government of Gujarat and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd inked at Gandhinagar

In light of recent labour incidents, experts view automobile manufacturing units and ancillary units located across and surrounding auto-hub in Gujarat may take a hit as far as production goes.

Automobile manufacturing units may see labour issues rising out due to the exodus of labour forces from Gujarat, back to their home.

“Following the labour issues in North India, Maruti Suzuki India’s Gujarat plant and further expansion was largely based on the port-road infra connectivity to address the global demand and prevailing labour peace in the state. But with the recent incidents, it will definitely be a tough call for MSIL management, as to how they deal with this situation, which is presently trigerred as politically motivated incident,” explains Bhavesh Shah, Ex Equity Research Head & Business Journalist.

While speaking to DATELINE GUJARAT, Bhavesh clearly expressed his worries, if the situation continues for a longer period, it will definitely impact the domestic growth of Gujarat, apart from creating resistance in fetching new investments, in the state.


PAST EXODUS & ITS IMPACT

Remembering similar exodus which was out of compulsion in year 1998 due to natural calamity (cyclone), Bhavesh warns that if situation continues for longer time, it will be disastrous, for industries in Gujarat.

Most of the labours from other states working on the coastal belt of Saurashtra in Jamangar and Kutch (Kandla|Gandhidham) moved out of the state in year 1998, when a severe cyclone had hit the Gujarat coast.

“And remember media or social media was not there in those days, but bringing those labours back to work was a mammoth task and it literally took years to get them relocated back to Gujarat,” Bhavesh adds.

If, similar situation continues and if this exodus of labours from Gujarat is not temporary, it will definitely trigger resistance in the production activities across industries in Gujarat, futher piling-up the losses, Bhavesh claims.


MAHINDRA’s WORRIES

Auto Magnet, Anand Mahindra, Mahindra & Mahindra Group head has tweeted on the situation, fearing the fallout from the prevailing situation in Gujarat.

While responding to one of the tweets discriminating the workforce, Mahindra tweeted …

This is exactly the mindset we need to fight. The problem begins when we define someone from another state in our own country as an ‘immigrant.’


Embedding THE TIMES OF INDIA report titled : Industries hit as UP, Bihar migrants flee Gujarat after hate …  in his tweet,

Anand Mahindra tweeted …

The biggest threat to India is our internal divisiveness.We accused the British of dividing us; today we’ve only ourselves to blame. We can’t blame politicians either; Each one of has to rise above our state loyalties or else we will not be a nation..but only a collection of Islands


TOP LEVEL ACTION PLAN

With the voice of intervention from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, to douse the fiery situation, the ball has been set rolling.

The Prime Minister’s Office has taken a serious toll of the situation, from ground zero.

Keeping in view the State Assembly polls across five states in November-December, followed by 10th season of Vibrant Gujarat 2019 – Global Investors’ Summit and 2019 Lok Sabha Polls, Prime Minister’s Office is working on war-footing basis to address the Gujarat crisis, gauging its socio-economic and political impact.

Indicative Image of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah

Several media reports claim of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah “not happy” with the situation on grounds in Gujarat.

A very detailed in-person report from Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, has been sought over the situation, by Modi-Shah duo, DATELINE GUJARAT learns from few political sources.

“PMO has deployed and deputed a special team of experts to deal with the situation, which has landed in Gujarat,” senior government official told DATELINE GUJARAT.


ACTION FROM GUJARAT

#GujaratExodus phenomena can have a severe impact on the industries, unless and until it is remedized and the confidence is reinforced, experts claim.

However, confidence re-building exercise will not only work through the government machinery.

Industrial estates, Industrial community, Employers have to also further serve their share to have a better clarity, rather than government declarations.

Indicative image of police cover deployed at Tata Motors in Past.


PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

There have been reports from across few industrial estates in Sanand and Mehsana of atleast 12,000 labors gone back to their native place at Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

North Gujarat where lies the epicenter of problem, it is also learnt that employers have ensured labour security in such manner that they are not exposed to such elements and ensure that such situations triggering any friction be avoided.

Dediyasan Industrial Estate in Mehsana district has taken suo-moto decision to organize security on their own and they will be on alert, if anyone is harassed in the industrial estate.

File Image from Facebook of Ahmedabad District Collector Vikrant Pandey interacting with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

It is also learnt of Ahmedabad District Collector, Vikrant Pandey having interacted with labors travelling from Gujarat, assuring them amicable environment here in the state.

Pandey after interacting with labours is reported to have learnt of majority of them travelling home on occasion of festivals, the labors have assured Pandey of returning, after the festivities are over, an Information Department press communique claimed.

“Such confidence building measures are required,” Dr Vyas claims.


WHY SUCH MEASURES ARE NEEDED?

The Investment sentiment is something which one will care to nurse, especially when the Gujarat has sprinted on investments spree and aims to attract global investments in the sate, experts claim.

For any industries or new investment, one major input is labour.

Quite a few of the higher jobs where Gujarati labours do not score and Gujarat labours are not much popular with such tasks.

Powerloom sector in Surat, one of the major labour force employer and the labours employed in powerloom sector are from Ganjam district, in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

“So, confidence building measures must immediately start parallely, government is doing whatever they can, but that will not be sufficienet, This is the time when government invite industry leaders, association leaders, leaders in society and tells them to join hands in this confidence building measures,” Vyas said.

By deploying police force the problem will not be solved, there has to be a dialogue, by taking the employers on the board, Vyas adds.

However, responding to the story via WhatsApp, Ex Chief Communication Officer of Adani Group, Devendra Amin expressed his views, saying, “The unemployment levels in UP and Bihar are very high, hence the question of labour shortage will not arise. New set of labourers will come. Secondly, the issue which has triggered some political ripples will be addressed and things will fall in line very shortly.”


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