Whenever West Bengal finance, excise, commerce and industries minister Dr Amit Mitra unveils new investment figures for West Bengal, his data is contradicted by the Union commerce ministry.
The latest example of such a contradiction was evident when on January 2, 2015, when Mitra said in Mumbai that West Bengal received a committed investment of Rs. 83,000 crore during the last three years. He was in Mumbai to promote the forthcoming Bishwa Banga Sanmelan-2015, the mega industry meet of the state government scheduled on January 7 and January 8.
However, the published figures of the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), under the Union ministry of commerce, shows that the actual figure was just around 15% of what Mitra quoted.
As per published figures of the DIPP, the new investment proposals received by West Bengal during the last three years from January 1, 2012 to November 30, 2014 stands at Rs. 12,206 crore. Of this, the highest new investment proposal figure received by West Bengal was during the calendar year 2013, with the figure standing at Rs. 8,054 crore. In the first 11 months of 2014, that is from January 1, 2014 to November 30, 2014, the figure had been Rs. 2,774 crore. The worst performing calendar year was 2012, when the figure for new investment proposals was just Rs. 1,378 crore.
According to a city-based investment analyst and consultant, probably the state finance minister himself is aware that it would be hard for him to statistically quantify his claims of new investment. “Precisely for that reason, his year- wise claim of the new investment figures attracted by West Bengal is not updated regularly in the website of the West Bengal Industrial Development Cor poration (WBIDC),” he said.
Interestingly, the section in WBIDC’s website on year-wise industrial investment in West Bengal has the year-wise figure from 2001 to 2010, virtually the last year of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee- ruled seventh Left Front government. But the figures during the Left Front government were not there.
This may prompt investors to ask as to why Mitra’s figures do not appear on the WBIDC website.