Surat is an ancient city that can trace its origins back to Vedic times. It is one of the few cities in Gujarat that boasts of broad religious and economic diversity. The city prides itself for its inclusive and tolerant atmosphere. It is a place where the persistent and sharp-minded businessman is rewarded with the fulfillment of the promise of prosperity, irrespective of his religious or economic background.
With an estimated GDP of $40 billion, Surat is the 8th richest city in India. But Surat tops the list in terms of per capita GDP, which stands at $8000, making it the city with the most consistently affluent households in the country.
It has a rich mercantile tradition, which has led to the flourishing of various successful commercial enterprises in and around the city. It is the biggest centre for diamond processing in the country and one of the biggest textiles producers.
The city has been an important seaport and a focal point of international trade in the region for much of its history until the Mumbai seaport eclipsed its prominence. But it is still a major center for imports and exports in the region with its chief exports being diamonds and textiles.
Key IndustriesThe major industries present in Surat are diamond processing, textiles and petrochemicals industries.
Surat is the biggest center for diamond processing in the country and is renowned across the globe for the skill and craftsmanship of its sizeable workforce. According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 80% of the world’s diamonds and 10 out of the 12 varieties of diamonds in the world are cut or polished in Surat. The diamond processing industry in Surat employs nearly 5,00,000 people and generates earnings of over $12 billion in exports.
Surat is one of the biggest centres of textile manufacturing in the country and the largest producer of synthetic fabrics. It contributes 18% of the total man made fibre (MMF) exports and 40% of the total MMF production of the country. Many call it the synthetic capital of India.
Apart from the top multimillion-dollar companies, thousands of small and medium sized textile mills operate in and around the city. The textile industry in Surat employs an estimated 1.4 million workers and nearly 60,000 traders are engaged in the textiles trade.
Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Surat has a burgeoning chemical and petrochemical industry. Essar, Reliance Petrochemicals, Larsen & Tubro, ONGC, Kribhko and Shell India are some of the corporate giants that have set up chemical and petrochemical processing plants in the district. Further consolidating its position as an ideal location for petrochemical plants, Surat was able to attract FDIs of more than $700 million in its Hajira Terminal project. The city is moving towards becoming an ideal destination for multinationals to set up chemical and petrochemical processing plants.
There are over 40,000 small to medium sized industries running operations in the district of Surat. These industries are involved in textiles, dying & printing, ‘zari’ or silver making and various machine and equipment manufacturing. Most of these small-scale enterprises are involved in the textile industry with the repairing and service industry coming in as a close second.
Though Surat has historically been mostly a mercantile city with little in the way of white-collar jobs, this aspect of the city is changing rapidly. With the advent of multinational corporations in the city and large investments in various manufacturing and processing plants, the demand for skilled engineers, managers and technologists is going to rise exponentially. There is no doubt that in the coming years, Surat is likely going to outshine many sought after career destinations in India.