KOLKATA: Talking about inclusive growth despite political differences, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday assured West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of Centre’s economic cooperation and stressed the inevitability of manufacturing sector for economic development and eradication of regional growth inequity.
Addressing the ‘Bengal Global Business Summit’ at Salt Lake here, Jaitley said, “governments of different political parties will rule at the states and Centre in multi-party democracy, yet for national causes all need to stand together. Economic development is a shared vision.”
“Chief Minister, you have a mandate and responsibility to deliver what you promised and so do we. Despite political differences in strong federalism cooperation between Centre and states is needed and I assure you of investments. But investors want investor friendly environment and states have to create it to attract them,” he said without mentioning about the ruling Trinamool Congress’ opposition to the land acquisition ordinance and GST.
Jaitley rejected state finance minister Amit Mitra’s claim of West Bengal recording 8.62 per cent economic growth compared to the national average of 4.7 per cent which was ‘double that of India’.
Jaitley stressed the need of manufacturing industries for ensuring economic growth as it would create jobs and fulfil the aspirations of people who desired to shift to suburban areas since they were underemployed in agriculture.
He said, “Bengal is strategically located being the gateway to South East Asia and to strengthen India’s growth. Bengal’s development has to be larger. The state has intellectual capital, water, agriculture, production facilities, best minds. It’s a challenge to re-establish West Bengal.
“I assure you because of re-allocation of coal blocks, West Bengal will be the largest beneficiary financially being one of the leading coal producing states among four in the country,” he said.
Jaitley pointed out that in this era of cooperative federalism there was also competitive federalism with states vying with each other to attract investments and investor friendly environment was required with all investors wanting a profitable return.
All investors want easy norms and permission for doing business, no loss of mandays, and good infrastructure which one needed to bear in mind to attract them, he said.
Jaitley said, “Profitable returns on investments will generate further investments leading to increase in revenue and that will help the social sector. The Centre is interested in inter-state equity. The eastern region is lagging behind while the western region has grown. The Prime Minister has pointed out that the eastern region must grow and regional inequity must come to an end.”
Aware of the Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to implementation of the proposed goods and services tax (GST) throughout the country, Jaitley said that many states apprehended they would lose revenue but we have assured them of compensation.
“In fact, revenue earning will be better for West Bengal if GST is implemented, “ he pointed out.
WB Gets Rs.93,600 cr Investment Pledge
On the first day of West Bengal Global Business Summit, investors committed Rs.41,600 crore in ports sector, while Rs.12,000 crore has been pledged for mining projects. Another Rs.40,000 crore worth investment pledge came from SAIL, Mamata Banerjee said. She, however, refused to compare the Bengal summit with the Vibrant Gujarat event, which would start on January 11.