Kolkata: West Bengal has received total investment proposals worth around Rs 2.43 lakh crore spread across sectors like education, health, mining, steel, infrastructure and financial services during the two-day Bengal Global Business Summit, which concluded here today.
“The state has received investment proposals worth around Rs 2.43 lakh crore during the summit. These proposals are spread across sectors like education, health, mining, steel, port, urban infrastructure, food processing, power, infrastructure, MSME, financial services, tourism and hospitality,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
She said that West Bengal cannot be compared with any other state in the country as the state was faced with a legacy of debt burden that is not experienced by others. “After coming to power, we found that there is no economic freedom and whatever we are earning is being taken away for debt repayment,” said Banerjee. There was no option as we had committed to FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Act for fiscal discipline, she added.
Banerjee came to power in 2011 after over three decades of Left Front rule in the state.
“If we consider the debt burden which the state is facing, then Bengal's performance is number one not only in India but also in the world. There is evidence to prove that,” the chief minister said.
In an attempt to regain the confidence of the investing community, Banerjee asked investors to forget about what had happened in the past.
“Whatever happened in the past is not good. Forget about the past and I am sorry for that,” Banerjee said at the closing session of the two-day summit.
Later, Banerjee said her apologetic stance was related to the legacy of the debt burden (inherited from the erstwhile Left front government) which her government has been shouldering. As as a result of this, a lot of development work has been thwarted, she added.
She said that “if not today or tomorrow” the world business community would be happy to invest here. “There is no need to go anywhere,” Banerjee stated. “Please do not forget and please do not misunderstand us,” she added.
Banerjee told investors that land was readily available for projects in the manufacturing sector. “Land is available everywhere for the manufacturing sector. If land is taken forcibly, then there will be scuffle. Negotiation is the proper route. We have just given 4,000 acres to SAIL for its expansion plan at Burnpur,” she said. Regarding the power situation, she said, “Many people say that the state is surplus on this front as there is no industry. I want to ask them, if there is no industry, then how so many investors and businessmen have assembled here for the summit?”
“We welcome constructive criticism, but not negativism,” she stated.
On the IT sector, Banerjee said: “We do not believe in SEZs due to political compulsions. Why SEZs? There are other options as well. We have asked the Centre for income tax exemption and we will give the land free of cost and other incentives.”
Representatives from 20 countries attended the meet along with industrialists like Adi Godrej and industry captains both from the state as well as outside.