Calcutta, Dec. 26: Amit Mitra, the new commerce and industry minister, today said he would try his best to realise Mamata Banerjee’s dream of industrial resurgence in Bengal.
Before leaving his 12th-floor office at Nabanna around 8pm, Mitra, who has retained his finance portfolio, spoke to The Telegraph, explaining how he aims to carry out the mission assigned to him by the chief minister.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Balancing act: There is perfect synergy between the two departments — industry and finance. If there is growth in industry, the tax collection of the state will automatically go up. This means the finance department would have more funds for allocation to different social infrastructure projects and the benefits will reach everyone. There is really no clash between the two departments and it should not be difficult managing the two.
Core competence: As the secretary-general of Ficci for over a decade and a half, I have had the privilege of interacting with industrialists and trying to understand what they exactly look for.
Besides, I have been on the boards of companies like SAIL and GAIL, two of the largest PSUs, for over five years, apart from being on the advisory committee to the Union ministry of trade and commerce on international trade in the past. All this, however, is not to undermine the achievements of my predecessor by any means.
The challenge: I know the challenge is to meet the high expectation of rapid resurgence of industry and bring major investment flows to Bengal. I am yet to assume the office. So, it will be premature to spell out how to go about meeting the challenges. Obviously, there has to be transparency in every move that the government takes.
First move: I will assume the office of the industries minister tomorrow and then take a call. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee already has a vision and we can try realising this through intense teamwork for achieving time-bound delivery of projects across the spectrum. We will first sit and try finding ways of doing all this.
Resurgent Bengal: We will put across facts and figures before spelling out clearly what can be delivered. All the vital economic indicators suggest different elements of resurgence are under way in Bengal.
The state’s GDP growth is far above the national average (7.6 per cent) and its own tax collection is at a record high (31.7 per cent for the financial year 2013-14) in the first six months of the year.
We will tell the world that it is on these foundations that industrial resurgence of Bengal will happen and that is also the source of my optimism. Let’s begin and I believe that together we can bring about a change.