July 27, 2015
Bengal growth story not highlighted on national scale: Amit Mitra
Interview of Dr Amit Mitra, Hon’ble Industries & Finance Minister, West Bengal
Q: Is Bengal suffering from a perception issue?
Dr Mitra: Bengal’s reality has changed a lot. It is not being shown on national scale. Bengal’s GDP is growing at 10%. The state is surging ahead in every field, be it agriculture, services or industry. Our slogan is “Come to Bengal, Ride the growth”.
Q: Is WB Govt suffering from communication issue?
Dr Mitra: Media channels are the main source of communication. Some local media channels do not want to show the Bengal growth story.
Q: What is the sales pitch of Bengal in UK?
Dr Mitra: We will highlight all the macroeconomic parameters. Investment proposals worth Rs 84000 crore are already underway. If you take our statistics that I have submitted in the State Legislative Assembly, there will be a lot of heads turning.
Changi airport and SAIL are taking up projects which will not only help in infrastructure but also generate employment. We have land in 38 industrial parks. 4500 acres of land are ready for industries. All departments together have 100000 acres of land which can be put to judicious use.
We have an analytics park coming up at Kalyani. AIIMS-like hospital and several universities in the pipeline too. All this is coming up on government land. We have cleared 7500 acres of private land which is vested and already in the market. The largest technology park of the Central Govt is coming up in Kolkata.
Five tea estates belonging to State Government, which were lying closed for a long time, have been given out in transparent, competitive manner. The transition of the tea estates also saw 100% employee retention. Haldia Petrochemicals is receiving 95% capacity even as stake sale process is underway.
We have applied our minds and are moving ahead at a fantastic pace regarding the issue of land and SEZ. Research shows that SEZs are not sustainable in India which have become a playground for real estate.
Bengal is a power-surplus State now. NTPC is taking up power projects in the State. Bengal is water-surplus State, thanks to the Jal Dharo Jal Bharo project.
The MoUs that will be signed in London are across the board and will encompass all major small and large industries.
Q: Will you change your FDI policy?
Dr Mitra: We will not change our policy. Let me be clear because it is our commitment to the people. We have a mall in the heart of Kolkata which is the highest rated mall in India. So who is against business houses setting up shop? We welcome companies to enter Bengal.
We have eased the process of doing business. One of the biggest problems was mutation. WB CM has put a 30 days limit for the process.
West Bengal Government received award from Central Govt for e-taxation. We are the only State in India to go cheque-free in taxation.
Kanyashree is a revolutionary programme where 22 lakh girls have been registered for financial assistance to pursue education and got appreciation from United Nations as well.