My next target is industry growth, says Mamata at Infocom 2021
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is planning to make a strong pitch to investors as she starts to focus attention on the industrialisation of the state — an area where she has a somewhat patchy record and has often been criticised for not doing enough since she assumed office in 2011.
“My next target is industrial growth,” Mamata said at the inauguration of Infocom 2021, the flagship B2B conference of the ABP Group.
The Trinamul Congress leader — who has won plaudits for her targeted social welfare programmes — put the words she uttered at the virtual programme into immediate action by trying to drum up investments in the state during a meeting later in the evening with some prominent industrialists in Mumbai.
Addressing the 20th edition of the four-day Infocom event, which is being held virtually because of the pandemic, the chief minister said her government would encourage businesspersons in every industrial segment to grab the emerging opportunities in Bengal.
“I can assure you that IT, hardware, electronics, manufacturing, (be it) small, medium or big industries, tea and jute, we will give more and more importance to all industries,” Mamata said.
The state government has already identified a few key projects that it intends to focus on. These include the Deocha Pachami coal mine development, a new port at Tajpur, potential industrial conclaves along the eastern freight corridor and the Silicon Valley Hub for IT industry at Rajarhat.
Mamata said the state scored high on all counts when it came to creating a conducive environment for industry. The state has an abundance of human capital, top-notch academic institutions, a locational advantage as the gateway to East and Southeast Asia, a robust social infrastructure, including medical facilities, and a strong infrastructure in terms of Internet bandwidth and ports.
More than 1,000 delegates and 60 speakers from India and abroad are participating in the conference, which will ignite discussions around the theme “Accelerating Digital”. The speakers will describe how the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked digital transformation across the industrial landscape and will seek to illuminate the road ahead.
The inaugural session was attended by Omkar Rai, director-general of STPI; Bhaskar Ghosh, chief strategy officer, Accenture; Kamal Arora, senior director, Dell Technologies; Siddharth Sharma, CEO of West Bengal and Odisha, Bharti Airtel; and Dhruba Mukherjee, CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd.
Mamata contended that the IT sector had huge potential in Bengal where 1,500 companies, including IT giants like TCS, Wipro, Cognizant and IBM, already had operations and employed lakhs of people. “But we want to achieve more,” she said while reminding the audience of the advances Bengal had made over the past 10 years, especially in e-governance.
She said the state government had done a lot of work in the social sector and the time had now come to refocus on industry.
“We are giving free education, health treatment, free rations, scholarship to the girl child, and are empowering women. We have so many social welfare schemes. You can say Bengal is a real reformer in the social sector,” she said.
The Bengal chief minister wants to whip up the same fervour for industry.