· West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the five Eastern Region states are in the most advantageous position to benefit from the loss of jobs and slowing manufacturing activities in China which is transitioning from low to high wages, said Mr Ajay Shankar, Member Secretary National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council.
· He was speaking at the CII Eastern Region Annual Regional Meeting and Conference on Driving Growth: Leveraging Opportunities in Kolkata today.
· Notably, as a member of Group of Secretaries, Mr Shankar put together stimulus packages during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. It is under his stewardship that the plan for the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project was developed for implementation.
· According to him, the strength of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are rich mineral reserves and skilled human capital.
· Mr Shankar also spoke of India’s impressive agricultural performance. “That makes it a very good case for the Food Processing Industry in the region,” he said.
· “The key factors that will drive the food processing industry is 24X7 power in rural areas, cold storages, logistics and connectivity,” said Mr Shankar, the man who played a historic role when the Global Financial Crisis struck.
· He also stressed the growing importance of MSMEs and recommended incubation centers for proper growth and development.
· According to Mr S Gopalakrishnan, President, CII, Eastern India is fast becoming an important hub of economic growth and development owing to a combination of factors – geographical advantage, abundant mineral resources, skilled and cheaper workforce, political stability and greater emphasis on reforms and governance.
· “West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand are on the cusp of a new era of industrialization and development. In terms of growth, almost all the five Eastern Indian States are performing better than the national average in recent months,” he said.
· He praised the West Bengal Government for its efforts to attract investments and revive its image as an industry-friendly state. “I am sure the efforts will bear fruits soon,” Mr Gopalakrishnan said.
· In his view, stronger emphasis should be laid on further reforms and improved governance and enabling environment. “We strongly feel that one of the most critical steps is to implement the Goods and Services Tax immediately after the next government has assumed office. GST will be a game-changer in raising the share of manufacturing, fuelling inclusive growth and aligning India with the global economy,” he said, adding that all state governments should support this important piece of legislation.
· Mr Sumit Mazumder, Vice-President CII, underscored the need for ease of doing business. “I am happy that the West Bengal Government has taken proactive steps to engage with industry on this matter,” he said.
· “Another key area is of governance and implementation which requires strong cooperation between the center and state governments. Infrastructure and connectivity will play a major part in transformation of the region as a growth hub,” he added.
· Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII Eastern Region said, “Eastern Region enjoys a strong position in CII’s theme – Accelerating Economic Growth through Innovation, Transformation, Inclusion and Governance. In terms of natural resources, human talent, and connectivity as well as proactive governments, Eastern Region is well placed to become a growth driver.
· Mr Sudhir Deoras, Chairman, CII Eastern Region, said with more than 47 million Indians set to add to the working age group by 2020, adequate focus on education and skill development will help reap dividend out of this demographic advantage and enable a more conducive environment for achieving higher growth in the coming years.
“Eastern Region has also shown significant improvement in the recent years. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal have contributed almost 20% to India’s GDP in 2012-13, increasing its share from 15.8% in 2004-05 exhibiting their growing importance as launch pad for India’s growth story,” he said.
“The region is the Gateway to South and South East Asia and can play a major role in India’s enhanced trade and Investment exchanges with neighbouring countries. Being integrated to various economic blocs like ASEAN, BIMSTEC and BCIM, there is concerted focus of the Indian Government in this region under ‘Look East’ policy,” Mr Deoras said.
· Mr Viresh Oberoi, Deputy Chairman of CII Eastern Region, said CII’s stated goals are to build global competitiveness, achieve sustainability and ensure inclusivity.
“Towards this, measures need to be taken to increase and ease fund inflows, ensure fiscal consolidation and implement structural reforms across sectors – agriculture, manufacturing, MSMEs, infrastructure, technology, and energy,” he said.
A CSR Compendium was released at the Conference.
· Later at the Special Plenary: Session on Driving Growth: Leveraging Opportunities, Mr T V Narendran, Chairman, CII Jharkhand State Council & Managing Director, Tata Steel Ltd, all need to play their part in the development.
· Dr Arindam Bhattacharya, Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group (India) Private Limited, voiced concerns about delayed projects which are in turn causing stressed balance sheet of firms and leading to high NPAs of banks.
· Mr Nik Senapati, Managing Director, Rio Tinto India Private Limited, stressed the need to unshackle the mining industry saying that India’s mineral reserves are not exploited fully. Rear Admiral, (Retd) Anil Kumar Verma, Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE Ltd, said MSMEs, IT as well as large manufacturing industries have great future in the defence industry since this is the only industry where there is no downturn.
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