‘Knowledge based economy only solution’

At a time when a financial scandal and routine agitations by students and workers are ruining West Bengal’s limited potential to draw investment, the chief of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) economic cell in the State, Dhanpat Ram Agarwal has claimed that his party can pull the State out of the crisis, using “innovative strategies.” Explaining the strategies, Mr Agarwal said the State needs a model to attract investment in “knowledge-based” industry, rather focussing only on manufacturing or service sectors. Presently, Bengal has a debt burden which is well over 30 billion dollars, a financial scam that has crossed one billion dollars in collection and the earning is squeezed to pay the interest on the loan. Unemployment and labour unrest is growing and the BJP claims to have a solution.

“We need different avenues to attract investment,” said Mr Agarwal, who also is the national co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of Hindu nationalist organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “Bengal needs a model based on Intellectual Property (IP) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). West Bengal still has the best national institutes and intellect; huge but cheap human resources and can grow in knowledge sector,” said Mr Agarwal, a professional economist and dedicated RSS functionary. “Nearly 40 per cent of Europe’s GDP and 34 per cent of U.S.’s GDP is IP-ICT intensive and that underscores why Bengal should increasingly focus on the knowledge sector,” he said. However, acquiring land for industry is “no more possible” in Bengal as the land is “multi-crop with a high population density,” he added. He also blamed the Congress for ruining the State's economy by introducing the ‘price equalisation’ policy in the 1950s.

Answering whether the Prime Minister shares his views to develop Bengal as an IP-ICT hub, Mr Agarwal sad that “Mr Modi appreciates the State’s potential.” “He is committed to non-discriminatory treatment to non-BJP states under the federal structure, especially for the weaker States in the eastern region. It is for Mamata Banerjee to decide if she is willing to develop productive Centre-State relationship for the State's development,” Mr Agarwal told The Hindu.

Mr Agarwal, who also is member of the BJP’s industrial cell, made no bones about what the SJM feels about economic strategies of the Union Government, acknowledging that the SJM blocked the field trial of Genetically Modified (GM) crop.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 11:45:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/knowledge-based-economy-only-solution/article6440722.ece

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