B Swaminathan

Vadodara: Federation of Gujarat Industries (FGI), one of the leading industries association is celebrating a century of existence and excellence in India. The prominent association in India has been active from the pre-independence era till today. The forum which has membership across Gujarat representing industries like Chemical, Plastic, Manufacturing, engineering and PSUs has been one of the professionally acclaimed trade bodies in India.

The forum was started in an effort to organize the textile business in the princely state of Baroda in the year 1918. The then king Sayajirao Gaekwad, encouraged social reforms and industrial development to modernize Baroda. Being one of the business hubs of the country, the association was started with humble beginnings predominantly with the manufacturers of textile industries. Later, with the advent of other industries, the Federation of Gujarat Industries expanded its wings and grew with an objective of promoting, protecting and projecting the interest of industries and catering to the needs of the community at large.

Along with the times, the name of the association has also evolved. The first name change happened in the year 1936 as ‘The Federation of Baroda State Mills and Industries’ by enrolling industries other than textile industries. Post-independence, further on merging of Baroda State with the Union of India in 1949, the association was given the name ‘‘The Federation of Gujarat Mills and Industries’. After getting registered under the ‘Societies Registration Act, 1860’, in 1995 the name of Federation was changed to “Federation of Gujarat Industries”.

The association till date has hand-picked top-notch 500 business people from the region. The work-force of the organizations owned by the members of FGI ranges from 300 to 4 thousand employees. “We see to that every year, there is one Minister from the Central Government will be the participant in our annual event. We always had represented the concerns of the business owners both in the state and central-level”, says Nitesh Patel, Secretary General of the association. Be it demonetization or GST or other ease-of-doing-business, the forum had always in the forefront in putting forth their views to the state and central government. Not just with the government, the FGI also has made representations with the private bodies like with a private airline to introduce new flights to Delhi from Vadodra, need for concession in the booking of flights.  He also says that the regular activities of the association include conferences, seminars related to Human Resources, CST, Technology (IT and 3D software) etc. The association also has always been active in terms of delegation to many countries where members travel and procure materials.

“There were instances where a delegation from Canada, Mauritius, etc. would come to our place for various business dialogues. Other than that, we have our own independent BB meetings happening both nationally and internationally. We travel across the world and interact with the embassy in those countries to make it happen”, Patel further added.  Some of the key sources of income for the association is through the membership fee, facilitation meetings, corporate events and support.

The FGI continues to move forward with time, keeping pace with modernization & reforms, ushering progress and prosperity of the state’s economy. Days ahead, the association is looking for active participation in the social-welfare activities. The association actively tie-up with bodies like Railways and other bodies to have fruitful participation.