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Bengal could not be proactive to attract industry: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Citing the example of the proposed semiconductor project in Assam, Sitharaman said that India's own big-ticket investment in chip manufacturing had gone to Assam, crossing Bengal

Nirmala Sitharaman,Nirmala,Finance Minister

Ishita Ayan Dutt Kolkata

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday claimed that the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government was not proactive in attracting big-ticket investment.

Citing the example of the proposed semiconductor project in Assam, Sitharaman said that India’s own big-ticket investment in chip manufacturing had gone to Assam, crossing Bengal.

“You tend to think that when the ecosystem exists in some area, frontier industries such as technology driven industries which need that kind of an ecosystem benefit, chip manufacturers for instance, will go there,” the FM said.

But the ecosystem in Guwahati is not as mature as in Gurgaon or Bengaluru.

“But there was a proactive government which went and said, please set it up here, we will do everything that is required. It went to Gujarat and to Assam,” Sitharaman said while addressing a gathering in Kolkata.

The finance minister was referring to two facilities planned by the Tata group-- semiconductor fab in Dholera, Gujarat and a semiconductor assembly & test centre in Assam.

“Is it difficult to imagine that if you had a proactive government here, that it would have been set up in Kolkata or Durgapur,” she asked.

The finance minister said that it was important to understand the impact of lack of industries in Bengal.

“Even till 2010, despite a communist government, net migration linked to Bengal was in the positive territory. The balance was in Bengal’s favour even till 2010,” the finance minister said.

At that time, Sitharaman pointed out that Bengal’s capital formation was about 6.7 per cent.

“Now, it accounts for only 2.9 per cent capital formation,” adding that it means people are not investing in Bengal.

“Unless capital formation happens here you are not going to have industries or activities coming in here.”

Pointing fingers at the TMC-government, she said that this gradual downward trend in gross capital formation had not been reversed after the TMC government came to power.

“You don’t even have vibrant manufacturing any longer here because of policy flip-flop, mafia rule, tolabazi and corruption,” she said.

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First Published: May 16 2024 | 10:35 PM IST

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