Calcutta, Nov. 28: The government will soon unveil a policy to ensure that state accounts for 10 per cent of exports from the country by 2005-’06. Last year, Bengal’s share in exports stood at 6.9 per cent.
Addressing the 148th annual general meeting of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “The state export policy is now in the final stage of preparation. Its primary aim is to increase the state’s share in the country’s exports. As a result, the state will fetch greater allocation from the Central government’s export assistance grants.”
Bhattacharjee added that the government will soon execute a memorandum of agreement with Construction Industry Promotion Board of Malaysia for commissioning a feasibility study for the upgradation of the Calcutta-Kulpi Highway. The project had been gathering dust for some time.
At the chamber meeting, the chief minister also presented a report card of the state’s progress in industrialisation.
Between 1991 and August this year, 2,936 proposals were approved for a projected investment of Rs 59,405 crore in the state, the chief minister said. Out of this, 613 projects, involving an investment of Rs 21,400 crore, were implemented. A team of the global consultant, McKinsey, has been working with the government since November 2001 to spur growth in agri-business.
Bhattacharjee said: “The imperatives for us now are to facilitate market linkages, develop collaborative value chains, create support infrastructure and ensure local market growth. The implications are a gradual shift in cropping pattern, increasing importance of focus crops, aggressive increase in rice yield for foodgrain security and increase of the gross cropped area under horticulture by 25 per cent.”
He added that a strong investor pipeline has been identified with companies like Marico, Nestle, Venkateshwara Hatcheries, Subiksha, ITC, Pepsi, Dabur, Hindustan Lever, Parle and others in it. “We have made a headway by initiating necessary facilitation and development at various levels,” he said.
Bhattacharjee said he has requested deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani not to repeal the Jute Packaging Material Act to help the jute industry, which, according to him, is showing signs of recovery. The chief minister today renewed his appeal to the managements and the labour-force to work together in the interest of the state.