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West Bengal To Showcase High Growth Story At Bengal Global Business Summit

To be held in Kolkata between 7 and 9 January, 2016, the West Bengal government expects to top Rs 2,43,100 crore worth of business announcements made last year

Photo Credit : Shubhabrata Das, Shubhabrata Das, Shubhabrata Das,

West Bengal has a lot to be proud of as its growth has overtaken national averages vis-a-vis GVA (Gross Value Added), industry, services, as well as agriculture, forestry and fishery in 2014-15. For example, GVA for West Bengal stood at 10.48 against 7.5 for India for the same period. The best growth was seen in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, at six times the national average. Also, the growth in per capita income was higher at 12.84 per cent against 6.1 per cent for the rest of India.

The West Bengal government has doubled its tax growth in three years (2010-11 to 2013-2014) from Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore and increased the state plan expenditure (development activities other than salaries) by 311 per cent and social infrastructure expenditure growth by 301 per cent in the same period. The capital expenditure growth in this period grew by 601 per cent by building assets such as roads, hospitals and flyovers.

Elucidating these points at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday (29 December), Dr Amit Mitra, minister in charge of finance, excise, commerce & industries, public enterprises, IT and electronics, said that the Bengal government was very confident of a much higher investment in the state at the forthcoming summit. Rs 2,43,100 crore worth of business announcements, business document exchanges, expressions of interest and investment proposals were received from varied sectors during Bengal Global Business Summit 2015. Of the promised amount, Rs 91,200 crore was currently in the stage of implementation. Major investments are expected in the cement, IT, steel, power and fertiliser sectors.

The minister also said they were looking at investment in newer areas, addition of numbers, fructification of projects and labour intensive investments. He was confident that four major investments would be announced at the summit. He said that Land Acquisition was no longer a problem as they had a large parcel of 4,400 acres of industrial park land at their disposal. Asked about the general perception of West Bengal as a state with militant labour force acting as a deterrent, Mitra said the work culture had greatly improved and there was no loss of mandays in the last three years.

The main advantages that Bengal has are that it ranks No.1 in India’s power distribution and in bank credit flow to SME sector; has industry friendly policies with incentives and exemptions, an increased deregulation drive for ease of doing business and introduction of e-services in governance at all levels such as tax collection, receipt and disbursal of Government funds, tender, auction, trade licensing and other areas of service delivery.

The summit will also focus on emerging areas such as start-ups, smart cities, growth of IT and financial hubs, development of industrial infrastructure, skill & services, and cluster leadership for MSME sectors which are expected to drive growth in the coming years.

The three-day-long summit aims to collaborate with the business community, investors, and intellectual capital from across the country. The event will include plenary sessions addressed by national and international entrepreneurs of stature who will share their thoughts, experiences and success stories. The summit will be attended by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, PM of Bhutan, a few chief ministers along with ministers from UK, Bangladesh and leading business magnates from all over India.

Last year, 20 countries including UK, Japan, USA, Singapore, Australia, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Israel, Spain, Belarus, Czech Republic, Korea, Luxembourg and neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal & Bhutan had participated in the Bengal Global Business Summit.

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