Just two days ahead of its completion of two years in power, the Mamata Banerjee government announced its industry policy, which kept intact its stand on land acquisition, while incorporating a slew of financial incentives, including tax benefits for setting up industries in Jangal Mahal.
Addressing a press meet at the State secretariat here on Saturday, Ms. Banerjee said the draft textile policy and the policy on micro, small and medium enterprises were also ready. “We will wait till June 30 to get responses on these policies which we feel will catalyse an industrial resurgence.” The industry policy aims at generating 13.14 lakh jobs this fiscal and extends incentives to industries for hiring youths from the State employment bank.
Food processing and agriculture industries, textiles, apparel, leather, handicrafts, tourism, higher education, gems and jewellery, steel and IT are among the focus sectors while the negative list of industries includes amusement parks, sponge iron industries among others.
Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee said the policies of at least eight States had been studied before drafting West Bengal’s policy.
It may be mentioned that industry had been clamouring for a policy statement for sometime now and the former Union Minister Sougata Roy had embarked on this exercise since late last year. There were indications that an announcement would be made at the Bengal Leads — an industry promotion event at Haldia in January 2013. However that did not happen as it was felt that it would be a rush job.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was the only chamber to react to the government initiative with its senior vice-president Siddharth Birla welcoming the textile policy saying that it was happy to see many of its suggestions incorporated in the document.
Hikes pay for casual and contract staff
The Chief Minister announced increased pay for casual and contractual workers. The hike would range between Rs. 900 and Rs. 2,500 a month depending upon the years of service.
Ms. Banerjee said the draft industry policy, micro and small and medium industries policy and the textile policy had been uploaded on the respective websites. The government would finalise these policies after getting suggestions from the chambers of commerce.
On the hike in the pay of casual and contractual government employees, she said while Group D employees working for less than 10 years would get a hike of Rs. 2,000 on their present monthly pay of Rs. 5,000, those working for over a decade would get a Rs. 2,500 increase on their pay of Rs. 6,000.
Group C employees would get a Rs.1,900 increase over their pay of Rs. 6,600 if they have worked for less than 10 years and a Rs. 2,200 increase on the existing pay of Rs. 8800 if they have been in service for over 10 years.