West Bengal is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that it becomes the IT hub for not only India but also to the rest of the world, stated Dr. Partha Chatterjee, Honorable Minister, Department of Industry, Commerce & Enterprise, and IT & Electronics, Government of West Bengal at the virtual event on Global Value Chains- Backward and Forward integration, in the session – ‘Bengal Readiness for Global Business at Global Value Chain’ organized by the apex industry body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Speaking at the event, Dr. Chatterjee stated that Technology is one of the key focus areas for the government of West Bengal. “Our honorable CM Ms Mamata Banerjee’s policy focuses mainly on big data analysis and decimation, animation and gaming, cyber securities, drones, artificial intelligence, quantum computing to name a few,” he said.
Dr. Chatterjee stated that the Honorable West Bengal Chief Minister has promoted the Bengal Silicon Valley in New Town which is fast becoming a satellite city. “Another 100 acres of land has been marked for extending the existing Silicon Valley in phase II,” he informed.
He explained that West Bengal has the highest number of MSME’s in the country which is a progressive step towards global business expansion.
“West Bengal recognizes the need for uniform global standards, international set of laws, inclusive labor laws, and industrial codes. This will in turn help in reducing the non-pecuniary costs associated with international trade. West Bengal has comprehended and fast adapted to this,” he added.
Mr Ravi Agarwal, Chairman, Eastern Region Council President Rupa Co. and Director Neo Metaliks Ltd stated that West Bengal is the new development story. “The state is pivotal in India’s striding towards a $5 trillion economy. The geopolitical position of the state serves as a gateway to South East Asia and beyond,” he said.
Mr Debashree Duttagupta, Chairman, ASSOCHAM HealthCare Sub Council-East and MD, East India Pharmaceuticals stated that Bengal has always been regarded as the Birthplace of Pharmaceutical industry in India with Bengal Chemical set up way back in the year 1901. “West Bengal has the potential to contribute in a big way to India’s pharma exports. The government has been taking a lot of initiatives due to which larger pharmaceutical companies would be attracted to West Bengal,” he said.
Mr Himanshu Priyadarshi, Director-Public Policy and Government Affairs, Pepsico & ASSOCHAM member stated that the West Bengal has all the factors to attract top industries to the state. “The state has been growing at 8 percent year on year. West Bengal is the 6th largest in terms of their GDP size. It has all the factors conducive for industries like the Food processing. The literacy rate of West Bengal is around 76 percent. Another big aspect is that women form a large percentage of the workforce here,” he said. Pepsico has invested around Rs 800 crores in West Bengal.
Mr Karn Agarwal, Co-Chairman, ASSOCHAM SEZ, Industrial Park Council stated that West Bengal’s location and its roadways having its connectivity all the way to Assam and Myanmar, it certainly brings in competitive advantage to the industries. “There is also a lot of potential in utilizing its waterways for getting connected to Bangladesh and other important ports. Because of all these factors, West Bengal has become the warehousing hub for the east,” he said.
Mr Darshan Hiranandani, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Hydrocarbon and Managing Director & CEO, H-Energy stated that West Bengal has a huge opportunity to develop its waterfront.
“There is around 80 kms of no development zone of water front near Hooghly. Most countries don’t have a water front. Look at Dubai, how effectively they have developed it. The water front at West Bengal has a huge potential for development and additional jobs can also be created around it,” he said.
Mr. Hiranandani also mentioned that while land acquisition is difficult subject for any state government, some changes can be done to solve the problem. “Where land is available for industry, 55 percent of the ground coverage can be allowed for development. This would double the land available for warehousing and logistics which will bring in a lot of jobs,” he said.