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Updated: April 1, 2012 23:54 IST

Pranab upbeat about West Bengal's investment climate

Ananya Dutta
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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is engaged in a discussion with Partha Chatterjee, Minister for Industry and Commerce of West Bengal, at an ASSOCHAM seminar in Kolkata on Sunday. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
The Hindu Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is engaged in a discussion with Partha Chatterjee, Minister for Industry and Commerce of West Bengal, at an ASSOCHAM seminar in Kolkata on Sunday. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

About 65 per cent of the State's investment comes from private sector

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Sunday that West Bengal “is emerging as the new investment destination” adding that it “rekindles optimism about the future of the State”.

Citing figures, Mr. Mukherjee said: “As of December 2011, the State had about 900 live investment projects worth Rs.6.11 lakh crore. It has a share of 4.4 per cent of the total investment announced by the government and private sector in India.”

Speaking at a conference organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Minister pointed out that a majority of this investment had come from the private sector.

“About 65 percent of the total investment in West Bengal comes from the private sector. It is a clear indicator that the industrialists and prospective investors are looking at the State with hope and expectation,” he said.

‘Mamata matching expectations'

Mr. Mukherjee said he was pleased that the “the new government, under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, is responding to these new aspirations and expectations of the people.”

The State has attracted new investment worth nearly Rs.58,000 crore. The manufacturing sector has got the major share at about 36.5 per cent, followed by electricity (29.4 per cent), service sector (18.9 per cent), mining (8.6 per cent) and real estate (6.1 per cent), he said.

Emphasising the importance of developing infrastructure for the growth of the economy, Mr. Mukherjee reiterated that the sector would require investment worth $ 1 trillion or Rs.50 lakh crore during the 12 Plan period. He pointed out that West Bengal had an edge over other States in the power sector.

“The power sector in West Bengal is one of the best in the country. While the normal power deficit is less than two percent, the peak-hour power deficit is minimal in the State and this could be utilised as it is an important infrastructural input,” he said.

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said the State's economic growth has lagged behind India's GDP growth over the last 10 years.

“The State should understand and promote competitive sectors like textiles, leather products and food products,” he said.

State Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was also present at the event, reiterated the debt burden that the State is facing and requested that the Centre intervene.

Mr. Chatterjee has also written a second letter to the Centre asking for a rollback on the tax on gold proposed in the Union Budget, which he handed over to Mr. Mukherjee during the day.

I do wish Pranab Mukerjee is right. But the rollback of Railway hike
under dictate from Mamata is the act of fooling the gullible with the
magical act creating wealth out of nothing. If this is an indication
of economic policy, no good will come to the state under her. Far
from new investments the state of Bengal will be lucky to preserve
what is left of it.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 2, 2012 at 17:40 IST

I do agree with Mr Mukherjee that there are some encouraging signs for West Bengal. But the State continues to reel under heavy debt, which is a matter of grave concern as of now. Ms Banerjee has to somehow bring Bengal's economy back on track. Whatever she does one thing is for sure, West Bengal can ill afford to ignore investors. In today's scenario,it is private sector investments that are helping economies come out of a vicious circle. It is only hoped that nothing is done by way of State policy to dissuade the investors. Political rhetoric apart, it is the practical steps that alone can revive an emaciated economy as that of West Bengal.

from:  Devashish Chakraborty
Posted on: Apr 2, 2012 at 16:58 IST

Bitter experience of Tatas, encouraging words of Mr.Pranab with UPA position held at ransom by Mamata, are not yet wiped out from the minds of the common man. In order to help WB let not the interests of other states sacrificed, like the railway budget,

from:  Rammohan
Posted on: Apr 2, 2012 at 05:38 IST
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