With a promise to build a new Bengal on the pillars of industry, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee unveiled her party’s election manifesto on Friday.
The ruling party’s emphasis on industry makes it obvious that attracting investments and setting up industry will become a prominent issue in the assembly polls since CPI-M leaders such as former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Suryakanta Mishra have already said that they will attract private investments to set up industry to solve the unemployment problem in the state.
Prominent among the other promises Mamata Banerjee has made is that she will make Bengal a riot-free state. “There will be no riots in Bengal,” reads the manifesto.
The manifesto also claims Bengal has a negligible rise in crime compared to states such as Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh.
“I don’t want to indulge in cheap politics to garner votes. We can be justly be proud of the development we unleashed,” said the chief minister at her residence.
High on the list of the promises Mamata Banerjee made is setting up of industrial parks by private investors and revamping the infrastructure of existing ones.
“Work on the Kolkata-Amritsar industrial corridor has begun and an industrial park has been earmarked at Raghunathpur (on the way). More such industrial clusters will be set up along the corridor,” she wrote in the document.
“The port sector will receive emphasis through the proposed ports in Rasulpur and Sagar,” the manisfesto mentioned.
She also said she will focus on the growth and nourishment of the IT sector.
Over the past five years, the chief minister has been pilloried by the opposition, which has questioned investment figures provided by the ruling party, such as claims that Bengal has attracted more than Rs 2 lakh crore of investment between 2011 and early 2016.
In the manifesto, the party said that in 2010-11, there were 500 IT companies in Bengal, and it has gone up to 894 -- a rise of about 80%. The number of employees in the IT sector has gone up from 90,000 (2011) to 145,000. The value of exports has gone up from Rs 8,335 crore to Rs 13,686 crore in the same period.
Trinamool Congress also said the government will also set up an industrial fund that will be used to facilitate infrastructure for the industry. The state may ask for assistance from the national industrial investment fund set up by the Centre.
Services such as providing water, power and roads will improve in the industrial parks.
Other areas where the Trinamool chief made promises were law and order/governance, health, education, women and child development, rural and urban development, agriculture, minority community development, housing, tourism, public works and transport.
The manifesto said the Banerjee-led government’s start-up policy will also help flourish entrepreneurs in the state. The document promised that special industrial parks will be set up for jewellery-making, foundry and packaged and processed foods.
In every sector from health, transport, agriculture to rural development, the manifesto devoted space to enumerate what the state government has already achieved.