Last week two State Governments – West Bengal and Gujarat, organized their respective global summits. I had an opportunity to participate in both of them.
The West Bengal Global Summit was an effort of the State Government to attract investment in the State. West Bengal was a key industrial State. Beginning with the naxalite problem towards the end of 1960s, coupled with the policies of the Left Front Government, industry moved out of the State. Kolkata remained the principal engine of development in West Bengal’s growth. The State has a successful agriculture. West Bengal has a lot of intellectual capital and in the past one decade information technology has picked up in a big way. West Bengal has to be redeveloped into an industrial center once again. My colleague Shri Nitin Gadkari, who also attended the summit, was willing to help the State in the creation of a Kolkata-Siliguri highway. If such a highway is combined with an industrial corridor, it will give a major boost to West Bengal. Creation of more townships, better infrastructure, an industrial corridor, more effective utilization of the sea resource has to be a future agenda of the State.
I was particularly enthused by the fact that groups representing a cross-section of industry, both manufacturing and service sector, attended the conference. The State would now need a consistent pro-reform and business friendly steps in order to build confidence in the mind of present and potential investors. We, in the Central Government, would be extremely keen to help West Bengal to grow. The GST implementation will increase the revenues of West Bengal. Part of the proceeds of the coal block auctions will augment State’s revenue. NITI Aayog is intended to further decentralize the various schemes in the hands of the State Government.
Gujarat Business Summit was a magnificent affair. The Mahatma Mandir at Gandhinagar is an extremely impressive convention center. This is the seventh Vibrant Gujarat show being organized since 2003. The prime Minister and other Ministers of the Union Government actively participated in this year’s Vibrant Gujarat. In fact Union Ministers have shown up for Vibrant Gujarat after ten years of absence. Prime Ministers, Ministers, policy makers from all over the world, large business groups - both domestic and international, were all present at the Vibrant Gujarat. Vibrant Gujarat has become the principal economic convention in the country.This year Vibrant Gujarat marketed India.
A few months ago, Madhya Pradesh had organized its own investors meet. News reports indicate that Maharashtra is going to organize a similar meet in near future.
My participation in the West Bengal and Gujarat meet have enthused me. The idiom, vocabulary and mind-set of the organizers was to attract investment. States in India are going to compete with each other in cornering investment. I have no doubt that the ones which consistently and uniformly pursue reforms and business friendly policies are likely to succeed.