Bengal the Gateway to NE, South East Asia: Mamata

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Kolkata: West Bengal is the gateway to the North-Eastern states, eastern counterparts and the South-East Asian nations of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. Easy access to other destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong should make it an attractive destination for investments, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Friday.

Making a fervent pitch for industry at the Bengal Global Business Summit, the Chief Minister said the State has been clocking a growth rate higher than that of the country.

The state had recorded industrial growth of 8.34 per cent (as against the national average of 5.6 per cent) in 2014-15, she said during the inaugural session of the summit.

Bengal has clocked a growth rate of 200 per cent in revenue generation in the four years of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government.

At least 67.35 lakh jobs have been created in the four years of the TMC’s rule.

“All these figures show why Bengal is the State to invest in the coming days,” Banerjee said adding that land availability is not a problem here. The State has at least “100,000 crore acres” at its disposal across the various State government departments.

She said the construction of the first deep-sea port in Bengal would start soon. The estimated Rs. 42,000-crore project will be kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly.

“Our Prime Minister will be here shortly to kick off construction of the deep-sea port,” she said at the inaugural session of the summit.

She also announced all possible help to industry captains and a waiver of Value Added Tax (VAT) on manufacture of solar energy equipments /components in the State.

Addressing the inaugural session Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre would continue with the policy of enhanced public spending for physical and social infrastructure. “Beginning last year we have stepped up investment in infrastructure. We will continue with that as it brings immediate results,” he said.

Tata Steel Managing Director T. V. Narendran, speaking at the business summit on Thursday, made a strong pitch for higher public spending in the infrastructure sector as the way to create demand for the steel sector.

Among others participating in the annual investment summit are Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Reliance Industries Chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

(inputs from The Hindu)

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