The draft investment and industrial policy of West Bengal, 2013, which was uploaded on the website of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) for comments and suggestions, have attracted quite a number of comments mostly pertaining to the demand for withdrawal of entry tax and immediate inclusion of incentives for industry.
However, there are hardly any suggestions on the state’s handsoff land policy, which has for long been the bone of contention for the industry community with regard to investments in the state.
Quizzed on the same, city-based industrialists said that they have failed in their attempts to convince the Mamata government about a re-look at the state’s prevailing industrial policy, which has been the biggest deterrent to drawing big-ticket investments especially in the manufacturing sector, and hence refrained from airing fresh suggestions.
“We have already aired our concerns over the land policy on several occasions, but the state government has made it know in no uncertain terms that it would not deviate from its land policy at any cost. Hence, we seen opointin airing sentiments over and over again,” said a city-based industrialist requesting anonymity.
However, in addition to posting their suggestions with regard to the industrial policy on the WBIDC portal, the industrialists this time have made a strong
pitch for immediate withdrawal of entry tax and a provision of more incentives for industry. The draft industrial policy of the state has no reference to either a proposed revision of land policy or incentives.
Confirming that there has indeed been a pitch for withdrawal of entry tax, industries minister Partha Chatterjee said, “In addition to calling for an end to entry tax, the industrialists have also called for improvement of infrastructure at the existing industrial parks.”
Quizzed on the demand for more incentives for industry, Chatterjee said, “This matter doesn’t fall in the domain of my department.”
Even in pre-budget meetings of the state government, the industry fraternity had demanded withdrawal of entry tax, but was overruled by finance minister Amit Mitra. The Mamata government earned revenue worth Rs. 1,250 crore in lieu of entry tax during the financial year 2012-13.