Sunday, December 26, 2010

West Bengal 2006-2010: Touching New Milestones (3)

Record Investment in Industries

· West Bengal is forging ahead towards industrialization, notwithstanding Singur and Nandigram. An amount of Rs. 8400 Crore has been invested in the State in 2009 alone, this being the largest investment in a year over the last two decades. It is expected that investments would escalate to the tune of Rs.10000 Crore in 2010.

· Information Technology: West Bengal as a State has encountered the recent global economic recession most deftly. Investments pumped into the IT Sector multiplied manifold. West Bengal earned Rs.2700 Crore from exports in Information Technology Sector in 2005-06. The amount has gone up to Rs. 6,400 Crore now. Scope of employment has simultaneously increased. In 2005-06 only 32000 employees served in the Sector. More than 1 lakh young people are serving the IT Sector. This number is expected to escalate to twice the number in 3 years.

· Second Financial Hub of the Country: Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated the Second Financial Hub of the country at Jyoti Basu Nagar (Rajarhat) on the 13th October 2010 last, thereby acknowledging success of the industrialization process and economic prowess of West Bengal. The first financial hub in the country was commissioned at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai. It is expected that the activities of Banks and other Financial Institutions would increase manifold with commissioning of the Financial Hub. Total investment in the Financial Hub would exceed Rs.1500 Crore creating employment opportunities for about 2 Lakh people directly or indirectly.

· Leader in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises: West Bengal has been maintaining its supremacy in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises in the Country– both in terms of the number of established units and the employment opportunities generated. As of now, nearly 28 Lakh MSMEs are operational in the State and almost 55 Lakh people have been gainfully employed therein. The State Government has a budgetary allocation of Rs.200 Crore in 2010-11 for the development of MSMEs in the State.

· PCPIR: Haldia is already established as a Petrochemical Hub. In 2009, the State Government decided to set up a Petroleum Chemical Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) comprising a part of Haldia Municipal Area and Nayachar. The decision is historic in the backdrop of the commitment of the State Government for employment-intensive industrialization. Investment in the PCPIR is expected to be around Rs.15000 Crore and employment opportunities for 10 lakh people would be created.

· Haldia Petrochemicals is an icon of West Bengal's industrial resurrection. It happens to be the second largest polythene producer in the whole country, meeting 70% of the demands for polythene in Eastern India and 30% of the national demand. More than 654 ancillary industries have come up in the State, opening up nearly 2 Lakh employment opportunities in 2009-10.

· Steel: A number of steel industries are coming up in the State. M/s Gas Seal Industries Ltd. is investing around Rs.3000 Crore in Purulia for the production of steel, cement and electricity generation and 2500 persons would be employed in this project. The corporate entity Joy Balaji has chosen Purulia for setting up its steel, cement factories and power station at an investment of about Rs.16,000 Crore. JSW Bengal Steel is establishing a steel project with an investment of around Rs.35000 Crore and. 18000 people are expected to find employment opportunities in this project. This apart, M/s Bhusan Steel Limited has proposed investment of Rs.15000 Crore and the Adhunik Corporation is investing Rs.7200 Crore for their steel, power and cement manufacturing units coming up at Purulia.

Financial Condition

· Some interested quarters often scandalize the West Bengal Government in regard to the quantum of borrowings of the State. The fact is that at the close of 2009-10 the accrued loans of the State stood at Rs. 169000 Crore. This includes the cumulative effect of borrowings since the 1950s - much before the Left Front Government took over. Moreover, such loan accumulations are inevitable in the context of the economic policies pursued by the Union Government.

· The accrued Loans of the Union Government in the corresponding period is estimated to be around Rs. 3500000 Crore (Source: Economic Review, Government of India – 2009-10).

· Information released by the Reserve Bank of India in February 2010 indicates that the loan burden of the U.P. Government is Rs.221000 Crore. Maharashtra has a loan burden of Rs. 208000 Crore. Substantial Loans have also been secured by the Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat Governments.

· According to Reserve Bank of India, West Bengal ranks fourth among the large states in regard to the Credit-Revenue Ratio and it occupies the eleventh position among 28 States.

· The Credit-Revenue Ratio was 48% five years ago, but it has now subsided to 41% only. The corresponding figure for Government of India is as high as 56%.

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