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December 26, 2013

FICCI faith in Bengal potential

FICCI faith in Bengal potential

Bengal has a huge potential to emerge as a manufacturing hub because of favourable geographical factors and the presence of trained manpower, Ficci`s new president Siddharth Birla said, adding the government should tap investments from outside the state.

He said turning the state into a manufacturing hub would help to generate revenue and create employment opportunities.

Birla, who is also the chairman of Xpro India Limited, believes the state needs to leverage its proximity with Southeast Asian countries, China and Japan, which are emerging as India`s growing trade partners.

The state is close to sources of minerals and a major producer of crops used for food processing, besides being well connected by rail and roadways to the hinterland.

Xpro, which is engaged in the business of manufacturing polymer films, plans to invest around Rs 200 crore in the state to set up a unit beside its existing plant at Barjora in Bankura district.

According to Birla, by and large Bengal has good business prospects, but the state government still has many things to do on the ground.

He said the state had initiated many steps to make the business environment conducive to investors from outside. However, still more needs to be done to attract funds.

`The business environment has been good for people who are already in Bengal – the success for the government would be bringing in new people who presently don`t have business interests in the state,` he said.

Ficci has proposed to identify serious investors for Bengal and ask them about the issues that prevent them from investing in the state. It then wants to work with the government to remove those hurdles.

`We can then identify some of the issues that hold back outsiders from investing in Bengal and work on finding possible solutions,` Birla said.

According to Ficci, the need of the hour is to increase investments from outside the state. At present, only those firms with a base in the state are investing in it.

`We have made a suggestion to state finance minister Amit Mitra in our last national executive committee meeting that we would bring only those investors who are serious about investing in Bengal,` he said.

This news was first published on The Telegraph dated December 26, 2013