Interactive Session with Industry

Kolkata, 18th October 2023: The Government of West Bengal is organizing the 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) which is scheduled on November 21 – 22, 2023 in Kolkata. As a prelude to the Summit, a roadshow was organized to deliberate on the trade and investment opportunities in the State of West Bengal and further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation.

The Government of West Bengal in association with ICC organized an Interactive Session with Business Stakeholders, on October 17, 2023, in Chennai. Major business stakeholders of West Bengal, 200+ Industry participants from Chennai along with the state government delegation attended the roadshow.

Shri. Shivkumar Eashwaran, Co-Chairman, of ICC Tamil Nadu State Council and chairman of Canadian Crystalline Group spoke on quality business infrastructure in West Bengal for potential investors, which included single window facilitation for around 85 services, good multimodal connectivity, progressive land and labour reforms, skilled manpower and abundance of mineral and natural resources. He said that Bengal has over 200+ industrial parks, the largest warehouse capacity in the country, and large container and bulk handling port facilities among other things.

Dr. Amit Mitra, Principal Chief Advisor to the Hon’ble Chief Minister and Finance Department, Government of West Bengal (holding the rank of a cabinet minister) delivered the keynote address and interacted with the Senior Officials from the Business Stakeholders. Dr. Mitra mentioned WB being the 4th largest economy(on the basis of Net Value Added as per RBI)in India with close to 17.50 lac crore GDP. He also mentioned that there is a huge market potential with over 93 million people as well as a large number in its northeastern neighborhood. Dr. Mitra stressed on the game changers in Bengal including in the fields of mining(upcoming Deocha Pachami coal blocks, natural gas and oil explorations ), IT & ITes (new data centers & cable landing station at Digha), logistics hubs ( Flipkart & Amazon) , Strategic location of the state as well as the infrastructure and human capital of the state. The state follows a path of fiscal prudence and out of 18 large states in India; Bengal is the number one in the debt-to-GDP ratio. He shared some corporate success stories of West Bengal, mentioning that leading IT major, TCS is employing over 55000 people in the state. Fujisoft from Japan is working with MSMEs for technology upgration and has so far adopted 20 MSME clusters. The Bantala leather cluster itself employs 2.5 lakh people. The state also houses the world’s largest effluent treatment plants. He mentioned that Kolkata is the production hub for metro coaches. West Bengal is looking forward to collaborating with Chennai in areas like textile, food processing, IT. The state also has high potential in fisheries, already earning 400 million dollars in shrimp export. The state has 19 food processing plants by ITC.

Shri. Onkar Singh Meena, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal spoke on the scope for collaboration in the marine sector between West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The other focus sectors are Agri, Agri marketing, Animal Resources, Food processing and horticulture.

Dr. Saumitra Mohan, IAS, Secretary, Department of Transport, Govt. of West Bengal, spoke on the scope of investible opportunities in e mobility, surface transport, port and coastal shipping, Inland water transport and air transport.

Shri Y Ratnakara Rao, IAS, Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, mentioned the focus sectors in state healthcare as Medical device manufacturing, Pharma warehousing and logistics, Yoga and Naturopathy, superspeciality care, Med-tech and startups among others.

Shri. Harish, IFS, Executive Director, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited (WBIDC) said that apart from having the 3rd largest road network, Bengal has a policy on new industrial and economic corridors. The state also has sector-specific polices like Tea tourism to foster balanced growth.

Shri. Nishant Mittal, Director, of PCM Group said Bengal’s comparative advantage lay in sectors like AI, cybersecurity, E-commerce and Tourism. The global conglomerate has its headquarters in Siliguri in West Bengal and is considering setting up of hotels in the state which would create around 2,000 direct employees.

Shri Dilip Dugar, CEO, of Radio Misty and co-chair of ICC National Expert Committee on MSME said West Bengal displays an exemplary business environment with no man-days being lost in the last decade due to bandhs. The state is remarkably well connected with the rest of the country and the world – having the 3rd largest road coverage, 2nd largest metro network, and also the only underwater metro network in the country. The state has upcoming tourism projects in places like Gajoldoba, Darjeeling, and Terai, aided by the newly rolled-out Tea tourism policy. Along with tea, new cash crop plantations are coming up in areas in North Bengal. In MSME, one of the state’s age-old comparative advantages lies in handloom and handicrafts.

Shri Ramesh Juneja, MD, J.C. International, said that Bengal can become a leading leather hub in the country with an ample supply of skilled labor, enabling policy, water supply, and state-of-the-art technology. The state exports 50% in leather goods in the country and has the largest leather complex in Asia with quality common effluent treatment facilities. A new 62-acre leather footwear park is coming up in the state.

Shri Rupak Barua, Director & Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals Ltd said that medical tourism from the BIMSTEC countries is a major opportunity for West Bengal. Since only 3% of the hospitals are 100 bedded it creates challenges for offering quality health care. There also exists a huge rural-urban gap with regard to access to quality medical care.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General at the Indian Chamber of Commerce elaborated on the scope of business opportunities in the state.

Bengal Global Business Summit 2023 envisions bringing together corporate leaders, business delegations, and entrepreneurs from around the globe with the purpose of making strategic and business alliances as well as to deliberate on the industrial ecosystem and business-friendly initiatives of the State. The 7th edition of the Summit scheduled on 21st -22nd November 2023 at Kolkata will have Plenary Sessions, Parallel Global Conferences, Sectoral Sessions, Country Sessions, B2Bs and B2Gs meeting to expand the network and meeting potential partners. The 2-day Summit will be an excellent opportunity to promote closer engagement and explore the possibilities of mutual collaboration.