Rajasthan govt’s Invest Rajasthan 2022, Jaipur Literature Festival deferred due to sharp spike in COVID cases

Rajasthan govt’s Invest Rajasthan 2022 scheduled to be held on January 24-25 has been postponed indefinitely while Jaipur Literature Festival has been rescheduled for March

The decision to postpone the investor's summit was taken in a meeting chaired by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)
The decision to postpone the investor's summit was taken in a meeting chaired by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)
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Prakash Bhandari

Two mega events which were to be held this month in Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur have been postponed due to the advent of the new COVID variant Omicron and the sharp rise in the number of active cases.

The Rajasthan government’s ambitious investor’s meet, Invest Rajasthan 2022, that was scheduled to be held on January 24 and 25 has been put off and a new date will be announced later.

The iconic Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) which was scheduled to be held in the last week of the current month too has been put off till March by Teamwork Arts, the producer of the event.

Sanjoy K. Roy, managing director of Teamwork Arts said, “Keeping in mind the advent of the new variant and the sharp rise in the number of cases across the country, we have thought it best to reschedule the festival and hold it in March 2022. We remain committed to bring the festival back to Jaipur as an on-ground, immersive experience, promoting dialogue, discussion, and debate on books and ideas.”

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on earth’, JLF is a sumptuous feast of ideas. The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted over 2,000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe.

Every year, the festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue.

Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Yunus and Joseph Stiglitz; Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Douglas Stuart, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty; Sahitya Akademi winners Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, as well as the late Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi and U. R. Ananthamurthy; along with literary superstars including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth.

An annual event that goes beyond literature, the festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Bill Gates, Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, and former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.

The decision to put off Invest Rajasthan 2022 was taken by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot – who announced on Thursday that he was COVID positive. In a meeting with concerned officials, it was decided to put off the mega show till the return of normalcy.

Incidentally, after this decision by Rajasthan government, Gujarat also decided to postpone the Vibrant Gujarat event. The decision to defer the tenth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat global investor summit which was slated to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10 was taken on Thursday, a day after Rajasthan decided to postpone Invest Rajasthan 2022.

The decision was taken after Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reviewed the Covid-19 situation in Gujarat, said an official statement from the government deferring the three-day summit in which 27 countries had agreed to participate. No rescheduled dates have been announced.

Rajasthan is trying to woo investors and it received a very good response from the investors during various roadshows held in various major cities prior to Invest Rajasthan 2022. During the roadshows, ministers and officials held heart-to-heart discussion with potential investors to showcase the state’s industrial potential.

Rajasthan is the largest state of India in respect to size and has rich deposits of minerals and other natural wealth resources, but over the years, barring limestone which is the basic material for producing cement, no other mineral-based industry has attracted many investments in the state.

The Ashok Gehlot government has undertaken a massive promotional drive to attract investment at a time when the country is limping back to regain lost ground due to the pandemic. But the recent high number of cases have forced the state government to put off the meet.

"Rajasthan has gradually become the choice of investors as it provides ease of doing business and investors friendly policy framework. We are inviting them to connect back to the homeland with the upcoming Invest Rajasthan 2022,” Gehlot had said before the decision to defer the summit.

“Invest Rajasthan 2022 is the manifestation of our commitment to building enduring partnerships with private enterprise for the development of the state and prosperity of our people. It is an important milestone towards delivering on the commitments made by us to investors," he had added.

Following the fresh spike in COVID cases, the state government issued fresh guidelines under which its offices will run with 50 percent strength. All state government employees who are above 55 years of age and those who are handicapped would work from home.

The state government has also ordered the closure of all schools in Jaipur and Jodhpur districts.

The total number of attendees in marriages has been fixed at 100 and at 20 for a funeral or last rites.

Night curfew has been imposed from 11 pm to 5 am and those caught without masks will have to pay a penalty.

If a COVID positive case is found in any public or private premises, it would be sealed for 72 hours.

Only such persons who have received both doses of vaccination are allowed to visit religious places and RTPCR tests have been made mandatory for all at arrival in the airports.

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