Captains of industry praise Bengal as investment destination

Dignitaries and the members of business delegation showered praises on the West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee and the industrial condition of West Bengal at different meeting held by the Bengal business delegation in London.


British Employment Minister Priti Patel: “She is an amazing lady, let me be clear about that, in terms of detail, vision and passion. She is an incredible leader – to listen to her speak on the podium and in conversation as well.”

“They (UK investors) started to dip their toes in the west when the PM and I went to Calcutta two years ago.”

“Now we were able to follow up from the discussions and the conversations we had then. She was then fizzing with ideas. Now we were able to put through things in a much more concrete way.”

UKIBC Chair, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt: “What I heard was not the usual rhetorics; I could also see a clear sense of purpose.”

Chandra Kumar Dhanuka, Chairman, Dhunseri: Never lost any mandays because of labour problems. I take the responsibility to say that the industrial relation in West Bengalis better than any other States in India.”

Sanjay Budhia, MD, Patton: “No mandays were wasted in our factories. New factory received license and other required papers from the Government within seven days.”

YC Deveswar, Chairman, ITC Limited: “I have come to London in spite of my busy schedule because I wanted to let you know about my experiences of doing business in Bengal. I think there are very less markets in India such as West Bengal. Consumption level is increasing by 3% per annum here.”

Harsh Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group: “Kolkata will judge you first. If it likes you, it will give you the warmest of welcomes. You have to come here with the mindset of playing a long innings.”

Head of Apollo Tyres: “The presentation about Bengal and the case studies shown have been an eye-opener.”

Sanjeev Goenka: Though we are happy with our investments in UK, we are happier with our investments in Bengal.”


More than 100 companies register to hear Mamata Banerjee in London

The interest in Bengal among British business houses has shot through the roof.

Patricia Hewitt, the chair of the UKIBC, on whose invitation chief minister Mamata Banerjee is coming to London on Monday on her three-day visit, said that over 100 British conglomerates, ranging from retail and mining to banking, have now confirmed to attend the session on emerging opportunities in Bengal.

Renewed interest in Bengal

“I am very pleased by the turnout.The session will give the UK business houses a chance to hear directly from the government and from business honchos of Bengal who are travelling with the CM on what the business climate there is at present and the opportunities,” she said.

Hewitt, added that she is certain that Bengal will become a Mecca for British business houses in the next 3-5 years.

She added: “The British companies are impressed that the CM herself is coming. The positive messages from the Bengal investor summit in January which we relayed to our members and the fact that she is coming with a very serious business delegation is very helpful. The impressive business delegation from Bengal would be the best advocates of the business climate in the state“.

Positive image

According to Hewitt, around 20 British companies at present are functioning in Bengal -from HSBC and Standard Chartered to BT, Max Bupa, OCS and KPMG.

Hewitt said, “This is actually the first investor road show from India being led by a CM. It is very important that Bengal is seen as a business friendly destination and overcomes its negative perception. This visit will open up a whole new opportunity for the state.”

She admitted that she has seen a “very obvious change at the Bengal business summit“ in January. “Work was going on to make the state investor friendly. Over the last year, we have seen real moves on ease of doing business and on simplifying tax systems.”

Praise for the CM

Patricia Hewitt was all praise for Mamata Banerjee herself. “She is a consummate political leader and has an extra ordinary ability to connect to people.Personal warmth and empathy are her strengths. She and I connected strongly when we met in Bengal in January and we have a personal bond.”

Bengal Leads

Britain praises Bengal business initiatives

After new industry policies being implemented and business initiatives taken up the West Bengal Government led by Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee, foreign countries are now shifting their focus on the State. Britain has a keen eye to invest heavily in Bengal with the chair of the UK India Business Council telling that the state is India’s “Gateway to South East Asia“.

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee was invited to visit the UK. Patricia Hewitt, who invited the Chief Minister on behalf of the British organisations, told that the state’s unique geographical position and its tremendous rich in natural resources have made it the next hot spot for British business houses.

Hewitt who was recently in Kolkata said “I was delighted to accept an invitation to give a keynote address at Biswa Bangla the recent showcase for West Bengal as an investment destination and itself an example of “competitive federalism” in action. The West Bengal Chief Minister was very clear that she wants to see more business, more investment and more jobs in the state and I am pleased that she and her finance minister, Dr Amit Mitra accepted my invitation to come and tell the Bengal story in Britain”.

“The challenges in Bengal are much the same as they are elsewhere in India. However, just look at Bengal on a map. It is surrounded by key states like Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. It straddles the route into Myanmar and ASEAN.In fact it is quicker to fly to Bangkok from Kolkata than it is to fly to Mumbai,“ Hewitt said.

“Added to this, 70% of India’s natural resources are in eastern India, there is a large cluster of mining and metallurgical companies based in Bengal, some with strong foreign links. The state government plans to improve urban, transport and industrial infrastructure, and many UK firms are taking active interest in these emerging opportunities,“ she added.

Hewitt said: “In many ways Bengal is playing catch-up after a slumber caused by some 34 years of Communist party rule. Companies in the UK looking to build business in the region will find that gaining early entry will bring significant gains in the medium term in a part of India that naturally looks east to the fastest growing economies, in ASEAN and East Asia“. Hewitt has had a long and distinguished career in politics and government, including being the longest-serving secretary of state for trade and industry in the last 50 years.

According to her, more than 700 British companies are operating in India and around many of them have a presence in Bengal. These include Standard Chartered, HSBC, BT, MaxBupa, Pavers, Bourneville College, Joy Mining, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Siemens Vai and Unilever.

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee recently reported that Bengal’s GDP grew by 7.6% while India’s GDP grew by 4.96% in 2012-13. Bengal’s industrial sector grew by 6.24% while that of India grew by 3.12%. In the services sector, she said that Bengal grew by 9.48% while India grew by 6.59%. According to her, since May 2011, the state has received investment proposals to the tune of £13.6 billion.

Foreign delegates all praise for Bengal at Global Business Summit

Bengal Global Business Summit started on a positive note. After the hugely successful morning session where the captains of the industry hailed Bengal, in the afternoon delegates from more than 20 countries participated in the Bengal Global Business Summit and praised about the growth of Bengal.

The participating countries include United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Luxembourg and Australia.

Here is what they said:

  • UKIBC Chair Patricia Hewitt: I invite the Hon. Chief Minister to visit England. I am here to promote B2B – not just Business to Business but Britain 2 Bengal.
  • The Global CEO of Mitsubishi Chemicals: The special affinity between the people of Bengal and Japan continues. We have had privilege of meeting the Honourable CM whenever there was a need and received her support and assistance. I sincerely hope this Summit will be a new dawn in Japan-Bengal relations.
  • Representatives of Changi International Airport: We will continue our relationship with West Bengal. We will continue our relationship with West Bengal.
  • Representative from the USA: We will continue our relationship with West Bengal. My wife and I want to start a Baul village in Bolpur.
  •  Representatives of Scomi group: West Bengal worked very fast to respond to our request. That is why we are here today. West Bengal worked very fast to respond to our request. That is why we are here today. We are looking forward to forge new relationships
  • The South Korean Ambassador:  We are witnessing a very positive change happening in West Bengal. Bengal is destined to become a major hub of Eastern India. State has all that it takes to become an investor-destination. The business-friendly measures taken by WB Govt will help the State in becoming a major investment destination. As Ambassador I would like to see Korean investment increasing in West Bengal. There is a scope for West Bengal and Korea to partner in the SME sector.
  • Business Delegation from Bangladesh: I am accompanying more than 25 entrepreneurs who would love to invest in West Bengal. West Bengal can be our backward link in export of garments and raw materials. The first private sector industrial park by Bangladesh will be set up in Kolkata. Didi is coming to Dhaka in February. We wish to hold a business meet during the visit.
  • Delegate from Kunming, China addressed issues on trade imbalances.
  • President of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce: Bengal and Nepal share a traditional and historical friendship. We request the Honourable Chief Minister to visit Nepal.


Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee addressed the Bengal Global Business Summit at the end of the first day. She took the opportunity to thank all the foreign delegates and the captains of the Industry. Here is what she said:

  • The main message today was ‘come to Bengal, ride the growth.’
  • Our infrastructure is ready. Our resources are ready. Our labour is ready.
  • 14 speakers addressed the morning session and 10 speakers spoke in the afternoon.
  • Discussion will continue tomorrow morning. Any clarification can be taken care of, by officials.
  • I salute my captains of industry. New things are happening in Bengal. This is a Beautiful Bengal.
  • Union Minister Gadkari ji announced projects worth Rs 21000 crore. SAIL announced projects worth Rs 40000 crore.
  • Bengal is always environment-friendly.Thank you to all the delegates who have come here.
  • To all the delegates, my message is, we are deeply obliged.