The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), North Bengal Zonal Council, has expressed happiness over Banglashree Scheme, an industrial policy and incentives for industries launched by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led state government recently by focusing especially on north Bengal.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic when industrialists are upset after suffering huge losses, Banglashree has encouraged them to fight back through expansion and renovation of their existing industrial units.
“The incentive scheme, especially for micro and small enterprises, named Banglashree Scheme, is indeed unique as compared to other states in India. Several new schemes, including subsidy even for expansion and renovation of existing plants and machineries, have been introduced,” said the Chairman of the CII, North Bengal Zonal Council, Sanjit Saha.
“In fact, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee introduced her government’s industrial incentive schemes in 2013 for five years, but they were not renewed in 2018 due to some problems, including financial crunches. The West Bengal government finally introduced it in 2020 for five years and some schemes even for 10 years. CII had proposed some of them. Some new industrial incentive schemes for Bengal are unusual and there are no such schemes in other states,” Mr Saha added.
However, a section of political observers said that the state has introduced the several new schemes by keeping an eye on the Assembly elections in Bengal that are due next year and to take on the BJP’s advancement.
According to official sources, the state capital investment subsidy has been finalised at 60 percent in Cooch Behar, 40 percent for both North and South Dinajpur and 20 percent for Malda, Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad, Kalimpong, Alipurduar and Darjeeling (except Siliguri Municipal Corporation area) for micro enterprises. This subsidy is nil for SMC area, but 15 percent subsidy will be given to women belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and minority communities.
On the other hand, interest subsidy for the same micro enterprise in Siliguri is 55 percent and 70 percent in other nine districts. The state government has introduced 100 percent waiver of electricity duty for women entrepreneurs in this region and 50 percent for others in Siliguri and 75 percent in other nine areas. In the same sector, subsidy for State Goods and Services Tax is refundable at 30 percent of the net SGST paid for eight years for Siliguri entrepreneurs and 50 percent for other districts.
Similarly, in the small enterprise sector, entrepreneurs will be able to avail of almost the same incentives, including cost of energy and cost of installation of equipment for energy conservation, subsidy of patent registration expenses (maximum Rs 5 lakh) and subsidy for water conservation (maximum Rs 2 lakh). Though in the medium scale, which is less than Rs 250- crore project, there is no subsidy, the state capital interest subsidy is nil, interest subsidy on term loan (Rs 175 lakh) is 25 percent of interest liability for 5 years, 100 percent waiver of electricity duty on power consumption for 5 years (maximum 25 lakh per annum) and 75 percent for sixth to 10th year in special two regions, including Cooch Behar. The state also plans to provide workforce welfare assistance in different forms for different zones.