West Bengal remains one of India Inc’s favourite investment destinations despite several major projects falling through in the past, thanks to the State government’s investor-friendly policies, according to a new ASSOCHAM survey.
“The state of West Bengal’s Business Confidence Index (BCI) is measured at 6.5 on a scale of 10, which is indicative of the fact that India Inc still trusts in the State government’s industry-friendly policies,” Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) said in a release.
In a survey of over 280 CEOs and MDs by ASSOCHAM, over 70 per cent of the respondents said that the BCI of 6.5 was based on the State’s GDP growth rate of over 9 per cent during the last 5-6 years, coupled with the flow of investments from sectors like infrastructure, real estate and construction, manufacturing and IT/ITeS.
“Over 200 CEOs observe that apart from domestic investment, the state can also attract investment from overseas players in the areas of clean energy, biotech and nanotech, healthcare, education and infrastructure,” it said.
Fifty five per cent of the respondents called for providing opportunities in agriculture, food processing, chemicals, petroleum and downstream industries, iron and steel and power. They also asked the State government to analyse untapped opportunities for investors.
As per the ASSOCHAM estimates, West Bengal had received investments of Rs. 5.3 lakh crore till September, 2009, over a 12-year period.
“This indicates the investors’ confidence towards the State,” ASSOCHAM Secretary-General D. S. Rawat said.
Some respondents expressed their belief that because of the higher BCI, West Bengal could be rated on par with States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh as an investment destination.
Approximately 52 per cent of the CEOs felt that since the State offered cheap and skilled manpower coupled with low-cost living compared to other States, setting up industrial units in West Bengal would be highly beneficial for investors.
SMEs, it said, would receive a major boost from the government’s proposal to set up Special Economic Zones for small and medium-size enterprises.
The ASSOCHAM survey said the State has approximately 11,225 small-scale industrial units providing employment to over 1.35 lakh persons. Over 190 CEOs, it said, suggested setting up of an Investment Promotion Cell in the State to identify new potential areas of investment.
Keywords: Climate for investment