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November 1, 2014

Bengal showered with praise at investment road show in Delhi

Bengal showered with praise at investment road show in Delhi

West Bengal was showered with praises at an investment road show at FICCI's Federation House, where Dr Amit Mitra, State Finance and Industry Minister invited the business community to actively participate in the 'Bengal Global Business Summit' on January 7-8, 2015 in Kolkata.

Industrialists having presence in West Bengal said the state has a stable law and order situation, and a pro-active government, among others positive aspects.

Praise from industry captains

Mr Sidharth Birla, President, FICCI, dwelt on some of the important changes noticed by him in West Bengal as an investor. These changes mostly fall in the domain of policy and ease of doing business. “The State Government has not only come up with a new West Bengal Investment & Industrial Policy 2013 but also various sector specific policies in the areas like Textiles, MSME, ICT, to provide fillip to the industrial investments in the State. Many significant measures have been taken to improve the 'Ease of Doing Business' in West Bengal by introducing time bound, process driven and ICT enabled systems to bring more transparency and reduce red tape,” he said.

He stated that West Bengal has rich agricultural and mineral resources. The State has well developed rail, road and port infrastructure. Further, the qualified and skilled manpower coming out of centres of excellence and various technical institutes is a great asset. The cumulative impact of these factors makes West Bengal as one of the ideal destinations for industries like IT & ITES, food processing, textiles, leather goods, MSME, tourism and many other sectors.

Mr Harshavardhan Neotia, Vice President, FICCI, said that West Bengal has emerged as one of the favored investment destinations for investors. With the new policies in place the State Government has ensured 'ease of doing business', which is a big step towards encouraging investors.

Mr Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat Cement, said his experience of dealing with the State government was extremely positive. He is setting up a 1.5 million tonne per annum cement plant in the state with an investment for Rs 600 crore. “What we saw is totally different. Government is incredibly fast and decisive. We never had a better experience. We operate in 14 other states,” he said.

Mr Utsav Parekh, Director of Bengal Aerotropolis, which is building a Greenfield airport near Durgapur (in which Changi Airport of Singapore has 33 per cent stake), said Changi's maiden investment in any Greenfield project was a testimony of its faith on the state.

Turnaround in investor sentiment

Marking a turnaround in investor sentiment, West Bengal has “under process” Rs 78,263 crore investment and garnered proposals for another Rs 1.2 lakh crore, Dr Amit Mitra said at his speech. The upsurge is a result of government's pro-active approach towards business and industry with leading firms setting up shop, Dr Mitra said, adding that the momentum would gather more pace in the coming days.

“All are turning towards West Bengal. We have Rs 78,263 crore worth of investment under process which means that these are at various stages of completion. We also have Rs 1.2 lakh crore fresh investment proposals,” Dr Mitra said.

He said both large and medium sized business houses have evinced their interests in investing in West Bengal, huge investment opportunities exist in West Bengal in various sectors such as manufacturing, MSME, food processing, textiles, urban infrastructure and housing, IT software and hardware.

Bengal Global Business Summit

Dr Mitra also invited business community to actively take part in the two-day “Bengal Global Business Summit” to be held in Kolkata from January 7.

Highlighting some of the initiatives that the government has taken to ramp up industrial activity including creation of a 3,000 acre of land bank, he said to overcome siltation in the existing ports, a 18.5-metre deep sea port at Sagar Island is being jointly developed by the state and the Centre.

The state has also doubled its tax collections from Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 40,000 in 2013-14, he said adding the aim was to reach Rs 45,000 crore in the current financial year, Dr Mitra informed.

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