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July 28, 2015

West Bengal invites UK to ‘ride its growth story’

West Bengal invites UK to ‘ride its growth story’

The West Bengal government has assured British investors that it has taken steps to bring down the labour strikes to zero levels, as it made a strong case for attracting investments.

“We are setting up systems in place. There has been a radical shift since 2010-11, when 7.6 lakh work days were lost [due to labour strikes]. By 2013, the number of working days lost came down to zero. It takes time for mind-sets to change but please come to Bengal and we can assure very clear worker management processes,” West Bengal’s Finance Minister Amit Mitra said.

He was speaking at a gathering of British and Indian business delegates, organised by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC).

The minister also highlighted the state’s “transparent” process of e-services introduced at all levels, including tax collection, tenders and other areas of services.

“The World Bank has cleared funds for Hooghly riverfront regeneration. We do competitive, transparent, e-based bidding and the UK has the expertise so it must connect up on this project,” the minister said.

Energy, education, smart cities projects and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were the other key sectors highlighted by the West Bengal team as offering great potential for partnerships between the state and UK.

Mitra is the part of a 62-member delegation led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to London this week.

“Bengal in London: Come to Bengal, Ride the Growth” is the theme behind the delegation.

“States are the building blocks of India’s growth and Prime Minister Modi has recognised this in providing a larger role to the states. West Bengal, with its dynamic chief minister and able team, is attracting investors like never before. Doing business in Bengal today is easier, simpler and faster,” said Jyotsna Suri, chairperson of the Bharat Group and president of the Federation Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Sumit Mazumder, chairman and managing director of TIL Limited and president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said, “West Bengal is a state with a GDP higher than the national average of the country. It offers lots of opportunities. I urge you to come and find out for yourself.