Bengal has a huge potential to emerge as a manufacturing hub
because of favourable geographical factors and the presence of trained
manpower, Ficci’s new president Siddharth Birla said, adding the government
should tap investments from outside the state.
He said turning the state into a manufacturing hub would help to
generate revenue and create employment opportunities.
State with huge potential
Birla, who is also the chairman of Xpro India Limited, believes
the state needs to leverage its proximity with Southeast Asian countries, China
and Japan, which are emerging as India’s growing trade partners.
The state is close to sources of minerals and a major producer
of crops used for food processing, besides being well connected by rail and
roadways to the hinterland.
Xpro, which is engaged in the business of manufacturing polymer
films, plans to invest around Rs 200 crore in the state to set up a unit beside
its existing plant at Barjora in Bankura district.
According to Birla, by and large Bengal has good business
prospects, but the state government still has many things to do on the ground.
He said the state had initiated many steps to make the business
environment conducive to investors from outside. However, still more needs to
be done to attract funds.
“The business environment has been good for people who are
already in Bengal… the success for the government would be bringing in new
people who presently don’t have business interests in the state,” he said.
The future is here
Ficci has proposed to identify serious investors for Bengal and
ask them about the issues that prevent them from investing in the state. It
then wants to work with the government to remove those hurdles.
“We can then identify some of the issues that hold back
outsiders from investing in Bengal and work on finding possible solutions,”
According to Ficci, the need of the hour is to increase
investments from outside the state. At present, only those firms with a base in
the state are investing in it.
“We have made a suggestion to state finance minister Amit Mitra
in our last national executive committee meeting that we would bring only those
investors who are serious about investing in Bengal,” he said.