Bengalathon 2018 to focus on apps for day-to-day needs

State Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E) Minister on Friday launched Bengalathon 2018, inviting software-based solutions from students, technical professionals and common citizens, particularly for the day-to-day problems of common people.

The minister also announced that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lay the foundation stone for her dream Silicon Valley project in New Town on August 13.

“We are looking for app-based solutions in a number of areas that include financial advisory app for senior citizens and game-based app for sensitisation of common people so that they do not get fleeced by fraudsters who pose as bank representatives, know the bank details and siphon money from accounts. We are also looking for an app to have a toto on call,” said a senior official of the IT&E department.

The details for registration along with other details of Bengalathon has been made available in the website of the state IT department and a Facebook page titled Bengalathon has also been introduced.

“Bengalathon” is a technology based competition to recognise innovative ideas that would culminate into path-breaking viable solutions for any of the industry sectors or citizen services and at the same time, provide a platform for them to showcase the innovative skills/ideas of the state resources at the national and international arena. The best solutions will be awarded.

Talking about the Silicon Valley project, the minister said: “We will put up IT&E infrastructure here in such a way that the entire country will look towards this place for solutions in these areas.”

The IT&E department also organised a day-long knowledge based workshop on ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT) involving the academia and the industry to work out a strategy for the state on how to embrace this modern technology, at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre.

Bengal Govt to formulate action plan for fostering start-ups

The newly-elected Mamata Banerjee Government is planning to formulate an action plan for fostering start-ups in the State.

“By 2020, we aim to make West Bengal one of the top three States in IT and IT-enabled services,” the state’s newly-appointed IT Minister Bratya Basu said during an interactive session with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on Wednesday. NASSCOM is the representative body of IT industries in India.

He called upon industry to join the Government to help dispel the negative perceptions that the State suffers from. “It cannot be the Government’s job alone…you have to join us too,” he said echoing a point made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday at her meeting with nine chambers of commerce.

The Government is determined to make the State a front runner in the IT space, Mr. Basu said.

The discussions ranged from possible Government-supported product-development centric incubation centres to the creation of a database of start-ups for larger companies as well as the Government.


স্টার্ট-আপ প্রসারে উদ্যোগী পশ্চিমবঙ্গ সরকার

নবনির্বাচিত মমতা ব্যানার্জী পরিচালিত সরকার রাজ্যে স্টার্ট আপগুলির বিকাশের জন্য একটি সক্রিয় প্ল্যান প্রণয়ন করার পরিকল্পনা করেছে।

“২০২০ সালের মধ্যে তথ্য–‌প্রযুক্তিতে দেশের প্রথম ৩ রাজ্যের তালিকায় মধ্যে পশ্চিমবঙ্গের নাম যুক্ত করা আমাদের লক্ষ্য”, বুধবার এক আলোচনাচক্রে এ কথা জানান রাজ্যের তথ্য–‌প্রযুক্তি ও ইলেকট্রনিক্স মন্ত্রী ব্রাত্য বসু। তথ্য–‌প্রযুক্তি সংস্থাগুলির সংগঠন ‘‌ন্যাসকম’‌ এই আলোচনার আয়োজন করেছিল।

আলচনার পর মন্ত্রী জানান, “ তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি ক্ষেত্রে একজানালা পরিষেবা চালু করা হবে, এর জন্য একটি অ্যাপও তৈরি করা হচ্ছে, যে কোনও লাইসেন্স, সব রকম আবেদন এর মাধ্যমেই করা যাবে”।

মন্ত্রী আরও জানান, “অনেকেই তথ্য–‌প্রযুক্তিতে নতুন বিনিয়োগ করেছেন বা ছোট সংস্থা খুলেছেন।রাজ্য সরকার তাদের পাশে থাকবে।তথ্য প্রযুক্তিতে রাজ্যকে সামনে আনার জন্য সরকার দৃঢ়প্রতিজ্ঞ”।

ইনকিউবেশন সেন্টার থেকে শুরু করে সরকারি সাহায্য ও স্টার্ট আপ এর ডাটাবেস তৈরির ব্যাপারেও আলোচনা হয়েছে এই বৈঠকে।

No other govt supports theatre world like Bengal: Bratya Basu

The week-long National Theatre Festival beginning this week will bring names like Naseeruddin Shah, Saurabh Shukla and Sharman Joshi on stage with their latest productions.

Organised by Minerva Theatre and Minerva Natyasanskriti Charchakendra, the festival will be kicked off this Thursday with ‘Choumatha’ of young Bengali theatre director Anirban Bhattacharya.

Funded by the state government, the festival will be held at Minerva Theatre and Rabindra Sadan. Hon. Minister for Women and Child Development, Dr Sashi Panja will be present during the inaugural ceremony.

Festival chairman and state tourism minister Bratya Basu will present his production ‘Mumbai Nights’ on Sunday. He said that no other government in the country supports and promotes theatre world like West Bengal.

The closing day on December 2 will have veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah presenting his satirical play ‘Gadh-ha Aur Gadd-ha’ (Donkey and hole) based on Urdu writer Krishan Chander’s works.

Presidency University will become a model for the entire world: WB CM

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today visited Presidency University for the convocation ceremony. She announced a slew of projects for the renovation and upgradation of the current campus as well as new Rajarhat campus.

WB CM also announced that a new campus of Presidency University will be set up at Dow Hill, Kurseong and it will be known as Himalayan Institute.

West Bengal Government will give Rs 118 crore to Presidency University out of which the Chief Minister handed over Rs 30 crore to the Vice-Chancellor today.

“What Bengal thinks today, rest of India thinks tomorrow. Presidency will show the way. Presidency should become a model for the entire world,” she said.

“I am honoured to be at Presidency. I am happy to be in the midst of so many young, talented minds,” she added.

125 years of University Institute

WB CM also attended the 125th year anniversary of the foundation of Calcutta University Institute today. She inaugurated the newly-renovated auditorium of Calcutta University Institute during the event.

Speaking on the occasion, WB CM said, “We must never forget our roots, no matter which part of the world we are in. We must teach our future generations about our past.”

She added, “Bengal can become the seat of another Renaissance in the future.”


State Tourism Dept launches website on Bengali cuisine

Not just places of interest, West Bengal Tourism Department will now tug at the gastronomic strings of tourists with a new website devoted solely to Bengali cuisine.

The recently-launched website is a powerhouse of information on Bengali cuisine, various recipes and also provides region-wise information of food available in the State. The ministry hopes this website will bring Bengali cuisine on the international culinary map.

Minister Bratya Basu said, “Tourists who are visiting Bengal will be encouraged by this website. They can now get any information on the food and culinary delights in any part of the State – be it Cooch Behar or Krishnagar”.

“Food is ingrained in Bengali culture. Promoting Bengali cuisine is a great way to promote tourism,” he added.

Experts in the field feel this move will go a long way in boosting tourism in Bengal and boost the restaurant and hospitality infrastructure in the State. Themes like ‘street food walk’ will also be more popular.


Click here to view the website.

Bengal tourism flourishes – tourist footfall doubles in 2014

West Bengal in 2014 saw around 89% growth in tourist footfall as compared to the previous year, state tourism minister Bratya Basu said.

According to the minister, 5.04 crore tourists visited Bengal last year compared to 2.67 crore in 2013.

Apart from the overall growth, number of foreign tourists also went up to 14 lakh from 12.45 lakh in 2013.

“Our estimate is that the overall number of tourists as well as number of foreign tourists will get doubled this year,” the minister said.

The increase in footfall of tourists can be attributed to the higher budgetary allocation for improving the tourism infrastructure in the state.

In 2011-12 the allocation was Rs 44 crore which has gone up to Rs 317 crore in 2015-16.


tourism data

Year-wise growth of tourist footfall in Bengal

WB Govt to promote homestays at tourist spots

After eco tourism hubs, the state government is keen to promote homestays at prominent tourist spots as part of its efforts to ensure significant rise in tourist flow to the state. “The government is working on a policy to develop homestays at prominent tourist locations.

The most interesting feature of this policy is that luxury tax will be waived,” said tourism minister Bratya Basu while inaugurating the 5th Destination East, a joint initiative by the CII and the state government.

“Such new trends in tourism would not only drive the GDP growth but would also create numerous new jobs in the state,” added Basu. To promote homestays for visitors, the tourism department is considering offering financial assistance to the owners of homestays, helping them to beautify their dwellings, spruce up toilets and do other value additions.

Tourism Minister promotes Bengal at Travel India 2014

An eco-tourism board would be set up to promote state eco-tourism, said Bratya Basu, the state tourism minister on Friday at the opening of the Travel India 2014, a seminar and exhibition travel and tourism. The two-day Travel India 2014 was organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking on the occasion, Bratya Basu said, “West Bengal is unique in terms of tourism. It has all the indicatives. We have Himalayan mountain range in the north, Bay of Bengal and forests to provide tourists a wide array of choices.”

He also mentioned that state is also promoting various types of tourism like heritage tourism, tea tourism, medical tourism, wellness tourism and the like.

“Tourism products from the state are well-accepted by the foreign tourists and companies alike. Wildlife products, biosphere reserves, Sagar Island, Terai region are being aggressively promoted,” said the state tourism minister.

State will promote Bolpur, Bakreswar, Phulia, Plassey circuit, added the minister. Jhargram, as mentioned by the minister, constitutes a component of heritage tourism.