Takeaways from the Bengal Business Summit....

There were many positive takeaways from the two-day Bengal Global Business Meet that drew to a close. While the proposed investment of a mind-boggling Rs.2.43 lakh crore was definitely the high point, chief minister Mamata Banerjee's statement on land for industry drew the high-fives.
Addressing a star-studded audience that included many captains of industry and corporate bigwigs, Mamata reiterated her well known stand that it was “wrong“ to acquire land forcibly for setting up industries since it would trigger op position from land-losers.Mamata appealed to investors to acquire land with consent from farmers. The CM apologized for “what has happened in the past“, setting off speculation that she was referring to Singur. Later, Mamata clarified that she was referring to the industrial decline during the Left Front regime. Mamata's hands-on managing of the summit and her enthusiasm indicate that she is determined to create a situation where proposals turn into concrete projects.
Another positive outcome of the summit was that investments were not only sought and received for brick-and-mortar industries but for the crucial human resource development sector. The chief minister announced the setting up of many state and private colleges, universities and technical and management institutes to create a pool of skilled manpower for industry and social sectors. She said that 10 lakh unemployed youths would be trained in technical skills within 10 years under the MoUs signed with various skill providers at the summit.
Once the proposed investments start fructifying in two to three years, more than 1 crore jobs would be created in Bengal, the CM said. Land, Mamata stressed again on Thursday , would not be a problem. She mentioned Bengal's land bank and said adequate land was available to set up smart cities and urban centres all over the state. She also invited hospitality players to invest in unexplored tourist destinations in Bengal. The proposed Kolkata-Siliguri corridor -announced by Union highway minister Gadkari on Wednesday -could be turned into an industrial corridor and would change the face of Bengal, she felt.
That Mamata means business was evident from her announcement that she would set up a core team of top bureaucrats and finance minister Amit Mitra to monitor the implementation of MoUs signed at the summit and pursue the letters of intent received from investors. An administrative calendar would be chalked out, setting deadlines for implementation of various stages of a project and a time frame for granting clearances and permits for every proposal. The next edition of the summit would be held on January 8 and 9 next year, she announced.
An exuberant Mamata personally greeted many of those who have proposed investments in Bengal, and said she was “overwhelmed“ by the industry's response. “Your presence here has touched our hearts,“ she said.
In the midst of all the talk about investments, industry and employment, Mamata took care to dwell on her social sector initiatives as well.She spoke of social empowerment and justice, about providing good and transparent governance and decentralizing administration. “In Bengal, the BDO does not have to come to the CMO (CM's office), the CM goes to the BDO,“ she said.

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