Banaskantha is one among the thirty-three districts of the Gujarat state of India. The administrative headquarters of the district is at Palanpur which is also its largest city. The District is situated between 23.33 to 24.45 north latitude and 72.15 to 73.87 east longitude. The district is located in the Northeast of Gujarat and is presumably named after the West Banas River which runs through the valley between Mount Abu and Aravalli Range, flowing to the plains of Gujarat in this region and towards the Rann of Kutch. The district is famous for the Ambaji temple which draw many tourists.
Geographically Banaskantha shares its borders with Rajasthan state in the North, Sabarkantha district in East, Kutch district in West and Patan district and Mehsana district in the South. Border of Pakistan touches the desert. Strategically, Banaskantha District is of much importance because of its sensitive borders.
The city is primarily known for the Ambaji Temple and Balrama Temple, both of which attract a lot of tourists every year. Apart from the tourism industry, textile and mineral based industries drive a major part of the economy here. Even the agro and the food processing industries hold an important position here.
In fact, Banaskantha is the largest producer of vegetables in Gujarat, with potato being the main crop. Some other crops which are grown in the region include tobacco, castor oil, bajri and psyllium. Banaskantha district is the third largest producer of oil seeds in the State after Junagadh and Jamnagar. Bajra, Maize, Tobacco, Castor oil, Jowar, Psyllium and Potatoes are the other major crops of the district. Deesa Taluka in the Banaskantha district ranks first in India for the production of Potatoes. The district ranks next to Junagadh and Rajkot in the production of Spices. The other spices produced in the district are Isabgul, Fennel, Fenugreek and Cumin and important vegetables produced in the district are Cow Pea, Beans, Tomato, Brinjal and Cabbage.
Banaskantha district has rich mineral reserves including limestone, marble, granite, building stone and china clay. Banaskantha district accounts for almost the entire marble reserves of the State of Gujarat. Danta Taluka of Banaskantha district is known for its high quality marble production. Major Medium and Large Scale Industries (MSI & LSI) industries in Banaskantha district are engaged in the production of granite tiles and marble blocks. The district has seven SSI clusters focused on textile (spinning and weaving of cotton textiles and khadi), diamond processing, and ceramics industry (processed Stone, marble). Out of these industrial clusters, three of the SSI clusters are located in the Palanpur taluka, two are located in Vadgam and one each is located in Danta and Deesa talukas.
The textile clusters located in Palanpur and Vadgam talukas together consists of 397 units (109 in spinning and weaving of cotton textiles and 286 units in khadi manufacturing). The diamond processing cluster in Palanpur and Deesa consists of 104 units. The district has witnessed highest investment in agro and food processing over a period of two decades. Engineering has emerged as the third highest investment aggregator in the district over two decades. Mineral Based (ceramic and cement) along with sugar industry have also emerged as preferred sectors for investment in Banaskantha district. Tourist inflow also contributes to a large extent to the economy of the district.
Banaskantha is also home to the Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, which is one of the most prestigious universities of Gujarat. The Palanpur city in the district of Banakantha saw the origin of India’s diamond industry and it continues to be one of the most important cities of Gujarat.
Banaskantha is well connected to other regions of the state as well as to other Indian states via road and rail. Palanpur has a railway station which connects Banaskantha to some of the major Indian cities. Proposed Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) passing through the Diamond Hub – Palanpur is expected to emerge as the major economic driver of the district. The vast reserves of marble in the district are a great potential for ceramic industry. Various support infrastructure projects planned across the proposed DMIC are expected to further boost the economic growth of the region due to the improved intra and inter State connectivity of the district.