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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Didi's industrial policy offers little land, seeks a lot

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 03, 2013
First Published: 23:32 IST(3/2/2013) | Last Updated: 23:35 IST(3/2/2013)

Though Mamata Banerjee's government faces a drought of fresh investments, her proposed industrial policy offers industries little help to acquire land. Instead, it wishes to take back unused land from their possession.

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The policy says, "There is a lot of surplus and vacant land lying with many industries. Such land should be used for expansion or setting up new industries. Otherwise, it should be surrendered to the government."

This stand comes while the Banerjee government's first effort to take back land in Singur is under judicial scrutiny.

After clinching power in West Bengal in 2011, Banerjee firmly maintained that the state will steer clear of any acquisition of land for private industries. The new policy, to replace the Left government's 1994 version, asks the industries to find place in nine growth centres and 14 industrial parks-areas that had already failed to attract big-ticket investments due to their inability to provide large tracts of land.

The policy, drafted by former UPA minister and Trinamool MP Saugata Roy, emphasises on the growth of micro, medium and small industries while hoping to increase the share of manufacturing sector in the state GDP to 20% by 2015-16.

The policy, however, clarifies that the state would welcome FDI in manufacturing, sun-rise industries and high-tech areas but not in multi-brand retail.

Banerjee's proposed policy says that it welcomes private industries and public-private partnerships and identified agri-based, food processing, metallurgical, engineering, iron and steel, textiles, IT and electronics, tourism and gems and jewellery as key areas, among other sectors.

Although it dumped a proposal for a petrochemical hub at Nayachar after coming to power, Didi's industrial policy asserted that it would "encourage the manufacture of plastic and polymer components".

The policy is drafted in the backdrop of Bengal witnessing a 98% drop in investment proposals over 2012-13 (till November), when compared to 2011-12.


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