West Bengal received investment proposals worth Rs 2.84 lakh crore at the fifth edition of West Bengal Global Business Summit, the flagship event of the Mamata Banerjee government to showcase the state as industry-friendly.
The investment proposals have given a leg-up to Mamata Banerjee, who just days ago led a two-day street protest against the Central Bureau of Investigation officers who she alleged were acting on behalf of the Centre to target her.
Banerjee, on the last day of the two-day business summit on Friday, announced that the proposals would create about 8 lakh to 10 lakh new jobs in the state. “Bengal is now the investment destination in the country. About 86 MoUs have been signed. About 45 B2C meetings were held and about 1,200 B2B meetings have taken place,” she said addressing the industry captains in the final plenary session at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in Kolkata’s New Town.
“This shows the credibility, accountability and sincerity of the state government,” said Mamata, who first came to power in 2011 breaking the 34-year-long regime of Communist government that was accused of being trapped in a time warp.
The chief minister said about 2 lakh more jobs will be created from the MoUs signed between the West Bengal government and other state governments of some of the 35 countries that took part in the summit.
“The country lost about two crore jobs in 2018 after demonetisation and hurried implementation of GST. But West Bengal reduced 40 per cent unemployment last year. Our focus is on job creation and reducing unemployment rate,” she said.
On day one on Thursday, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani announced his company would invest Rs 10,000 crore in West Bengal, to expand Jio’s 4G operations across the state. Ambani said: “RIL has already invested Rs 28,000 crore in West Bengal, which is one-tenth of the company’s total investments across India, and (telecom arm) Jio will invest a further Rs 10,000 crore-plus to make the state a land of digital revolution”.
Ambani said Reliance’s investment in the state was Rs 4,500 crore in 2016 when he first attended this summit and now they were the biggest investor in the digital space of West Bengal. Ambani also lauded the effort of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in transforming West Bengal. “The city of joy has become the city of hope… West Bengal is fast becoming Best Bengal. Mamata didi’s leadership is poised to be a leader in the 4th industrial revolution and RIL would be its trusted partner in helping the state embrace the full blown power of digital revolution. Bengal’s GDP has crossed Rs 10 lakh crore. It was less than Rs 4 lakh crore at the beginning of this decade, when you took reins of this state in your able hands,” said Ambani.
According to the state government, the state received investment proposals worth Rs 2.43 lakh crore in 2015, Rs 2.50 lakh crore in 2016, over Rs 2.35 lakh crore in 2017 and over Rs 2.20 lakh crore in 2018. The chief minister said over 50% of the previous investment proposals have been implemented. Industry heavyweights such as Sajjan Jindal of JSW Steel, Rajan Bharti Mittal of of Bharti Enterprises, Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Group, YK Modi of Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd, Sanjiv Puri of ITC were among those who attended the summit and made investment announcements.