West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the central government on Thursday by referring to the prevalent state of business environment in the country.
“Everybody is scared. How will you run the business. You have to pay so many taxes -- income tax, Customs tax, CBI tax,” she said while promoting the Bengal Business Conclave in Digha. She quickly corrected herself, however, saying, “Sorry, CBI is an agency.”
She claimed industrialists in her state were immune to any interference from agencies and can have complete peace of mind. “In Bengal, I think nobody will say they are having any problem. Problems will happen if everyday, somebody knocks on your door and tells you get out.”
While the Centre has been claiming that India’s ranking in ease of doing business has been improving, Banerjee alleges investors are scared.
Earlier last week, she had blamed the Centre for the ongoing fear psychosis among industrialists. In fact, Rahul Bajaj, chairman of the Bajaj Group, had drawn Home Minister Amit Shah’s attention towards some policies and the prevalent business scenario at an event, which had thrown open a catalytic chain of arguments.
Referring to the ongoing slowdown, Banerjee said, “In the world, there is an acute crisis, and in India as well. But why is Bengal safe? Because we give thrust to small industries. Three crore jobs are being created and unemployment is down by 40 per cent in West Bengal.”
The state has been focusing on the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector to generate jobs and attract investment. In the conclave as well, the CM announced several hubs for the MSMEs.
A garment hub is being set up in Nungi near Kolkata, a steel fabrication centre is being set up in Paschim Medinipur, a shellac centre is being built in Purulia, and a common facility centre for bell and brass metal is being built in Bankura.
Besides, other common production centres are being set up in Bardhaman and Nadia for “kantha stitch handwork” and earthwork. Other such facilities are being built across the state, including in north Bengal.
“As the model of this conclave, we have reached out to those international bodies we hadn’t engaged with before and have targeted to promote manufacturing. In fact, MSMEs are the key pillars for generating employment in the state,” Amit Mitra, the state’s finance minister, said.
The state government is expected to start work in the Deocha-Pachami-Harinsingha coal belt within seven days. A state government official said that the clearance for mining from the coal ministry has come and the state is about to apply for the necessary forest and environmental clearances and others shortly. A tender for selecting the miner will also be floated. Initially, around 40 million tonne of coal can be mined from this coal belt.