Next year's general elections in India will determine the unity within the INDIA block
In an effort to shed West Bengal's investor wary image and woo much needed capital, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday promised a "friendly environment" to Indian and foreign industrialists if they infused capital in the state.
"Industries were facing hardship due to demonetisation. Come to Bengal and invest here. You will get a friendly environment. We are giving all the relief," Banerjee said at the third edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit.
Reminding investors that West Bengal was the gateway to the north eastern states and neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, Banerjee made a passionate appeal to them to come to the state.
"Please do not consider us as a government but as your family members. Bengal is your home and that is why I appeal to my brothers and sisters to invest in Bengal," she said.
Banerjee said the summit has proved itself as a milestone. "Bengal is the engine of the country's growth. Bengal has become the destination and gateway of investments, she said.
Projecting the business opportunities in the state, she said Bengal had a land bank, land use policy, skilled labour, air, rail and road connectivity and policies for many sectors, besides being surplus in power.
The Chief Minister said the state's tax collection was up 103 per cent, plan expenditure has increased 212 per cent and the state GDP has grown by 123 per cent.
The capital expenditure has increased by 616 percent and the state is growing at 1.5 times of the national average, she said.
"No man-days were lost. Five years ago, man-days lost was 78 lakh due to agitation during the regime of the Left Front (that ruled Bengal between 1977 and 2011). We do not allow any strike and blockade. If there is a problem, we sort it out within 24 hours," she said.
"Our growth in the industrial sector has been 10.5 per cent compared to national average of 7.3 per cent," she said.
Banerjee said over 4,000 delegates from 29 countries and across Indian states have attended the summit. "We are eager to listen to your discussions and looking forward for the outcome," she added.