West Bengal has been recognised as one of the important
investment destinations in the country. It has major locational advantages
with ports at Kolkata and Haldia, efficient network of railways, roadways
and airways; stable power situation; as well as improved telecommunication
system. It also has a very large number of skilled and qualified technical
persons at different levels. Due to favourable agro-climatic conditions
of the State, innumerable opportunities exists in the areas of agriculture,
horticulture, sericulture, tissue culture and floriculture. The major
industrial units in the State include tea, petrochemicals, electronics,
leather, information technology, automobiles, etc. In addition, magnificent
landscapes makes the State a tourist hotspot.
Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the State's economy
and nearly three out of every four persons are involved in it. West Bengal
is richly endowed with fertile soil, abundant water and favourable agro-climatic
conditions. West Bengal is the largest rice producing State in the country,
producing over 16% of rice. The other major agricultural commodities are
wheat, pulses, oilseeds, potato, jute, pineapple, bananas, etc. With such
abundant availability of agro produce in the State, the agriculture and
horticulture sector naturally becomes a focus of attention. Also, the
State enjoys national leadership position in terms of its output. Apart
from this, its estuarine area is suitable for cultivation of variety of
aquacultural products like shrimps and tiger prawns.
With extremely low levels of processing and scientific handling
and storage, the entire sector provides gainful opportunity for investors
in a host of areas, be it in grain handling and storage or in creating
food processing facilities or building up cold chain infrastructure. The
easy availability of power and water provides great scope for activity
in the rice processing sector. Floriculture, tissue culture, dairy processing
and fisheries are other important areas which are being highly encouraged.
West Bengal is the second largest tea growing State in
India. It contributes about 21 percent of the total production of tea
in India. Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri are two northern districts of West
Bengal, where most of the tea gardens are located. Darjeeling tea is the
finest tea in the world. Tea industry plays an important role in the economy
of West Bengal. It generates employment in several ways like in production,
processing, distribution, packaging etc. Tea is also an important source
of income through exports. Kolkata port is the biggest tea-handling port
in India as well as Kolkata is the biggest tea auction market in India.
Many new small tea gardens have been set-up in Coochbehar, North Dinajpur,
Information Technology (IT)
West Bengal continues to be the major base for information
technology (IT) and software companies. The IT industry in the State has
achieved significant growth over the years. At present, total export earning
of IT companies located in Software technology Park (STP) is Rs. 2000 crore.
Presently, 180 IT and 55 ITes companies are operating in Kolkata providing
employment to 35,000 professionals.
West Bengal is on a fast track IT highway and is poised
to become one of the top three States in India by 2010 to contribute 15
to 20 per cent of the country's total IT revenue. In order to capture
this significant share of the growth and to provide full support to the
investor community, the State Government has crafted comprehensive policies
for the development of information technology in the State. The thrust
areas in information technology include software development, hardware
manufacture, IT real estate, IT enabled services, IT-security etc.
The West Bengal Government is also encouraging proposals
for setting up large complexes in the 'information technology' segments
of the private sector, joint sector and public sector. Further, it is
looking at developing Tier II cities like Haldia, Durgapur and Siliguri
and also suburban areas around Kolkata as the next IT hubs.
The leather industry has a very high potential for growth
due to easy availability of raw materials like hides and skins. Availability
of skilled manpower for such activities has been the strength of this
area. West Bengal is one of the country's top State for export of finished
leather goods. 70% of the country's leather goods are exported from West
Bengal. Export oriented units will be benefited through the setting up
of the integrated leather complex near Kolkata. Kolkata Leather Complex
is being set up in Bantala, primarily to relocate the existing tanneries
from Kolkata (Tiljala, Topsia and Tangra). The complex is spread over
1100 acres of land and is 15 minutes away from Park Circus connector of
EM Bypass. The basic idea of relocating these tanneries is to save Kolkata
from pollution. The leather complex will be an ideal place for leather
processing and furnishing units.
West Bengal is endowed with destinations like Darjeeling
with a magnificent view of the Himalayas, dense forests and wild life
sanctuaries in the Dooars of North Bengal, sea beaches and Sunderbans
of South Bengal, rolling rivers, monuments, temples and other places of
heritage in Calcutta and the Mufussil districts of the State. In order
to realize the full potential of such locations and places of tourists'
interest from the heritage point of view as well as to develop the seaside
resorts in coastal areas, the State Government has formulated a separate
policy for development of tourism.