West Bengal, India’s sixth largest economy, had a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of US$ 132.86 billion in 2014-15, growing at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.06 per cent since 2004-05.
West Bengal is the third largest state in India in term of mineral production, accounting for about one-fifth of total mineral production. Coal accounts for 99 per cent of extracted minerals. The state is the largest producer of rice and second largest producer of potato in India.
The natural resources, policy incentives and infrastructure in the state support investments in major sectors such as iron and steel, biotechnology, coal, leather, jute products, tea, IT, gems and jewellery. The state has 3000 acres of land at its disposal to set up industries.
West Bengal has 12 growth centres for medium and large scale industries, set up by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC). There are exclusive growth centres for electronics, software technology and export processing. Major industrial areas of West Bengal are Haldia, Kolkata, Asansol-Durgapur region, and Kharagpur.
Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote West Bengal as an investment destination are:
- The state government of West Bengal has proposed an investment of US$ 8.2 billion for the budget 2015-16. It has allocated US$ 99.67 million for constructing Asia Highway 2, which will connect Nepal Border (Kakarbhita) to Bangladesh Border (Banglabandha).
- The state government has set up an integrated leather complex on the eastern fringe of Kolkata, spread over 1,100 acres.
- In 2014-15, the state government commissioned a 250 MW thermal power unit in Durgapur and renovated a 210 MW of Bandel thermal power station. The third and fourth units of Sagardighi thermal power plant, of 500 MW each, are expected to be operational in 2015-16.
- A number of road development projects have been taken up under Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). The Barasat-Krishnanagar section, Palsit-Dankuni road project and Panagarh-Palsit road project are some of the PPP projects taken up in the state.
- In 2014-15, the state government approved the construction of a 293 MW hydropower plant in Darjeeling district. The plant is expected to be operational by 2016.
- Three steel parks are expected to be established in Raghunathpur at an investment of about US$ 5.9 billion.
- The State’s Textile Policy 2013-18 aims to increase the sector’s contribution to 10.0 per cent of the state GDP by 2022-23 from 6.1 per cent in 2014-15. This would provide employment to at least 10 million people.
- Under the Smart City Program, the state government has announced plan to build seven smart cities in West Bengal. The four cities of New Town Kolkata, Bidhannagar, Durgapur and Haldia, have already been selected under the central government's flagship Smart Cities project.
- Under Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF), 171 projects for widening and strengthening of 2,087 km of roads, and 18 new bridges are anticipated to be operational by September 2015.
West Bengal State Presentation
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