The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal FDI inflow thins

New Delhi, March 8: Foreign direct investment figures for the first nine months of this financial year do not paint a bright picture for Bengal.

FDI proposals in Bengal from April to December 2004 have confined themselves to a combined value of Rs 59.08 crore, according to official statistics accessed by The Telegraph.

Unless there is a sharp turnaround overnight, the state will almost certainly fall short of the Rs 303.45 crore it managed to raise in the 12 months of the last financial year.

The statistics take into account the FDI proposals that were cleared by the Union government.

The figures over the previous three years show that Bengal has been attracting around Rs 300 crore as FDI every year. However, there have been wide fluctuations even among prosperous states from year to year.

Since the figures do not take into account projects that are under discussion, the data need not fully reflect the investment climate of a state in a particular year.

For instance, Orissa is at the bottom of the heap during the nine-month period, though the state is said to be close to a deal on a huge South Korean steel project.

The western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have forged ahead during the nine months.

Gujarat has seen a nearly 10-fold increase in the proposals it received from Rs 148 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 1,425.37 crore during April-December in the current fiscal.

Maharashtra reflects a lower rate of growth but in absolute terms continues to be the favourite with foreign investors with an investment of Rs 1,511.30 crore during the nine months.

The state, however, has not been able to exceed the Rs 1,527-crore figure for the last financial year and may have reached a plateau.

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