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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

Micro, small and medium enterprises to be the focus of 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit

CM said larger industries like cement-producing units brought investments but they generated fewer jobs compared to MSME sector

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 24.08.23, 06:22 AM
Mamata Banerjee at the Milan Mela programme in Calcutta on Wednesday

Mamata Banerjee at the Milan Mela programme in Calcutta on Wednesday Picture by Gautam Bose

Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) would be the focus of the 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) to be held on November 21 and 22 as they generate more employment opportunities.

“The focus of this year’s BGBS will be the MSME. This sector generates more employment. I will ask everybody to draw investment to the MSME sector,” said the chief minister while inaugurating an exhibition of handicraft items at Milan Mela here on Wednesday.

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The chief minister said larger industries like cement-producing units brought investments but they generated fewer jobs compared to the MSME sector.

“The Bengal government will extend all kinds of assistance to those who would invest in the MSME sector. Leather units have shifted to Calcutta from Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. A total of 2.5 lakh employment opportunities have been created in the leather units in the state. In the future, five lakh more employment opportunities will be created as the state would spend about Rs 500 crore to develop infrastructure,” said Mamata.

The chief minister also announced several facilities for the MSME sector during the programme at Milan Mela.

She invited the weavers to set up exhibition units for their produce. If they come up, the government will provide land to set up the units. At the programme, the chief minister inaugurated two outlets for sarees of Bengal virtually.

Moreover, Mamata instructed the chief secretary to provide identity cards to all the MSME investors and asked the administration to ensure that they were not harassed by police or anybody claiming compensation or any kind of tax.

The government, the chief minister said, has agreed to give approval to private industrial parks to give a boost to the MSME sector.

“We have launched the Bhabishyat Credit Card through which one can apply for a soft loan up to Rs 5 lakh to set up their units. The government will give a subsidy of Rs 25,000. We have already received 9,600 applications under this scheme,” said the chief minister.

Sources in the administration said Mamata chose to lay focus on the MSME sector as she wanted to generate more jobs in Bengal ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the 2026 Assembly elections.

“Lack of employment opportunities remains an Achilles' heel for the ruling establishment. More than 20 per cent of phone calls made to the 'Sorasori Mukhyomantri' are related to the demand for jobs. This is why the chief minister is laying stress on creating employment opportunities through the MSME sector,” said a source.

Sources also said Mamata had to fall back on the MSME sector as the state’s efforts to draw large-scale investments did not yield much success.

“The latest effort to draw investment to the bicycle manufacturing sector, citing that Bengal buys nearly 20 lakh bicycles every year under the Sabooj Sathi scheme, has also fallen flat as nobody showed interest in the state’s proposal,” said a senior official.

Sources have said in such a situation, it is a smart move to lay stress on the MSME sector as Bengal’s handicraft is known across the country.

“For example, the leather products and handloom products of the state are famous across the country. If these can be branded properly, they can flourish and create employment opportunities. There are several handicrafts like bamboo craft and dokra items which can be promoted,” said a source.

Land auction

The chief minister on Wednesday said her government would soon auction off unused government plots and the money thus generated would be spent on welfare schemes like Lakshmir Bhandar.

This is the first time she has admitted that her government is set to monetize the unused government plots to generate more funds. The Telegraph had reported the matter.

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