M3 Features

Kolkata honchos to head national Biz bodies

December 30, 2013

For the first time in the corporate history of India, Kolkata-based industrialists will head or be the next in command in all three apex chambers of the country - Ficci, CII and Assocham.

While Siddharth Birla, chairman of SK Birla Group, has been elected as Finational president, Harsh Neotia, chairman of Ambuja Neotia Group, is national vice-president. Sumit Mazumdar, vice-chairman of TIL, will be president-elect of CII from April 2014. Assocham will have a president from east after many years in 2014 as Sunil Kanoria, vice-chairman of Srei Infrastructure, takes over from Rana Kapoor of Yes Bank. Birla, though based in Delhi now, is the nominee of Indian Chamber of Commerce and was born and brought up in Kolkata.

Industry looking East

Industry experts feel it is a rare opportunity for the government to build an image using the apex chambers. It may be noted that CII partnership summit was held in Kolkata in 1996 when Rajiv Kaul was at the helm. It returned to Kolkata in 2006 when ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar was CII president.

Ficci organized major events when city-based industrialists were at the top. Former Ficci presidents from Kolkata include S K Birla, Duncan Goenka Group chairman G P Goenka, Late R P Goenka, Adventz Group chairman Saroj Poddar, Sudhir Jalan and S S Kanoria.

Sumit Mazumdar pointed out that the eastern region, specifically Bengal, is like a "developing nation where demand is high but homegrown availability is low". "For various reasons, industrialization has been lower than many other states. This provided a unique opportunity in terms of demand. With the new state government there has been considerable interest among investors. Top get the right traction the opportunities of doing business in the state needs to be widely marketed," he said.

Industry upbeat in Bengal

Harsh Neotia feels that it is a unique opportunity to project Bengal as well as East. "We shall try to host important events in the city," he said. ICC secretary general Rajeev Singh opined that the four representatives of Kolkata should be actively engaged by the state government in utilizing the reach and strength of CII, Ficci and Assocham towards new investments in the state. "This is a rare coincidence. The state government must ask all three Chambers to bring at least two to three large national and international events to Kolkata. This would help showcase investment opportunities, facilitate dialogue with key opinion leaders and build Brand Bengal," he said.

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Comments (2)
Sunando Reply
December 30, 2013
Things are really looking up for the industrial sector in the state.
Abhijit Das Reply
December 30, 2013
This is a great opportunity for the state government to convince industrialists to invest in West Bengal.
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