Some niggles notwithstanding, the economy of West Bengal seems to be on an upswing driven by Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)’s growth, slide in revenue deficit as a percentage of fiscal deficit. There is also an uptick in state revenue, shooting up of the state’s capital expenditure, a marked rise in-state plan expenditure in agriculture and allied services and other sectors.
The Economic Review of the state placed in the Assembly during the annual Budget today had many encouraging signs. Several flagship schemes have helped to accelerate the pace of development with significant changes in several key sectors like health, tourism, agriculture and MSME, to name a few. With the industrial prospects of the state looking up, several domestic, international business houses and foreign nations have shown keen interest in the state as an investment destination, the survey stated.
Not surprisingly, the state industry, commerce and enterprises department is spearheading the governmental efforts by prioritising the “Ease of Doing Business” and “Single Window” facilitation services, it was pointed out. West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation Ltd have started making profits, and the trend is continuing. New initiatives of the department include Budge Budge Garment Park, Goaltore Industrial Park, Haldia Industrial Park, to name a few.
State information, technology and electronics, information and cultural affairs department is focussing on creating IT parks, hardware park and Bengal Silicon Valley remaining its key priority area. In the last four years in all 145 services of 17 departments in 23 districts have been brought under e-District platform while e-Office has been set up at 51 secretariats, 98 directorates and 22 districts. Under the Bengal Silicon Valley project, 200 acres have been earmarked for the IT industry in the state.
In all, 40,4744 acres have been allotted to TCS, Reliance Corporate IT Park, First Source, Tech Mahindra, SAMEER and other firms and these companies will commence their operation in three years giving enormous opportunities of employment. A sum of Rs 1954.79 crore has been mopped up by state land and land reforms and refugee relief and rehabilitation department between 1 April to 31 December last year against a projected figure of Rs 3,556 crore, the survey stated.
In all, 1311 freehold title deeds were distributed between January to 25 November last year. Last year the school education department continued its endeavour of universalisation of education both at the elementary and secondary level. It stressed the comfort of every child in school. The state health and family welfare department started four medical colleges and hospitals (MCH) last year at Rampurhat, Coochbehar, Diamond Harbour and Raigunj.
In all, 42 super speciality hospitals (SSH), with 13,000- bed strength are fully functional in different parts of the state. The state tourism department has tapped the bounties of nature in different parts of the state setting up Bhorer Alo Eco- Tourism Hub at Gajoldoba in north Bengal, Jharkhali Eco- Tourism project at South-24- Parganas as well as other projects last year.