Partha raises Centre aid,Pranab steers clear

While Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday pressed for special financial grants to the state,Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee maintained silence over the issue.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: April 2, 2012 3:58 am

While Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday pressed for special financial grants to the state,Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee maintained silence over the issue. They were sharing the dais at a function here which was organised by the Assocham.

Expressing hope that the Centre would act to lessen the debt burden of the state because the present government is not “at all responsible for the financial crisis it finds itself in”,Chatterjee urged Mukherjee to do his best for giving a “bailout” package to “debt-stressed” West Bengal. He said at least the Centre should help find a way for changing the financial environment of the state.

Mukherjee,however,did not utter a word on Bengal’s liquidity crisis,merely mentioning in course of his speech that a committee had been constituted to look into the financial issues in Uttar Pradesh,Punjab,Kerala and West Bengal. Mukherjee also said West Bengal was emerging as the new investment destination.

Although the industrial growth during the 11th Five Year Plan period in West Bengal had come down significantly,share of private investment in the state had been on the rise,the Union minister said.

As on December 2011,the state has about 900 live investment projects worth Rs 6.11 lakh crore.

Mukherjee said the state had got Rs 58,000-crore new investment which clearly indicated that the industrialists and prospective investors were looking at the state with both hope and expectations.

Manufacturing sector has got the major share — 36.5 per cent of total investment — followed by electricity (29.4 per cent) and service sector 18.9 per cent.

He said with the change in the state government,there was a significant scope to improve policy environment to attract more capital to help in improving the rising aspirations of the people.

“I am happy that the new government,under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee,is responding to this new aspirations and expectations of the people,” Mukherjee said.

Meanwhile,Subir Gokarn,deputy governor,Reserve Bank of India,said West Bengal’s economic growth had lagged behind the national average during the last decade. The state has potential competitive strength in some industrial activities like textiles,leather products and food products. These competitive drivers need to be understood and reinforced through policy actions.

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