Mineral: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. India is one of the world's most naturally endowed lands. India is home to numerous minerals which benefit the country economically. The minerals produced in India constitute one-quarter of the world's most popular mineral resources.
West Bengal stands third in the country in terms of mineral production. The state contributes about one-fifth to the total production of minerals in the country. Coal constitutes 99% of the minerals extracted in West Bengal; fireclay, china clay, limestone, copper, iron, wolfram, manganese and dolomite are mined in small quantities. There are good possibilities of obtaining mineral oil and natural gas in the areas near the Bay of Bengal.
West Bengal is the third largest state for coal production, accounting for about half of India's total. Lignite mined in Darjeeling is used to make briquettes. West Bengal ranks next to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in production of fireclay. China clay used in the pottery, paper, textile, rubber and paint industries are unearthed at Mohammad Bazar in Birbhum and Mejia in Bankura. Limestone which is used in cement industry is mined in Bankura, Purulia, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri. There are copper mines in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. Small quantities of low quality iron-ore are mined in Bardhaman, Purulia, Birbhum and Darjeeling. There are manganese in the Jhargram region of Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bardhaman. The state’s production of dolomite comes from the Dooars region of Jalpaiguri.
Keeping pace with the liberalised Mineral Policy being adopted by the Government of India, Government of West Bengal has formulated its Mineral Policy in 2002. Among the basic objectives of the West Bengal Mineral Policy, 2002 following are worth mentioning:
1. To review the existing State monopolies over mineral exploration and wherever required, go in for selective de-reservation.
2. To invite private capital, resources and technology, both foreign and domestic, for better exploration and exploitation;
3. To promote necessary linkages for smooth and uninterrupted development of mineral based industries to meet the needs of the State.
4. To ensure proper vigilance and supervision of mining activities with particular emphasis on simplification of procedures and greater generation of revenues from mineral resources.
5. To develop industry friendly facilities in specific minerals like, Coal, Granite and China Clay and in Natural gas like Coal bed Methane.
Iron and Steel: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
India has one of the richest reserves of all the raw materials required for the industry, namely land, capital, cheap labour, iron ore, power, coal etc. Yet India is 5th in the world ranking for production of steel. Iron and steel is basis for laying the vibrant Indian industry. Production of steel has come to exist as an index of a country's potential, industrial and economic growth. The making of iron and steel had been known to the people of India since long. The iron pillar of Delhi is a proof of it and speaks of the quality of steel produced in this country in ancient times. The steel industry is often considered to be an indicator of economic progress, because of the critical role played by steel in infrastructural and overall economic development. The per capita usage of steel gives an indication of the technological advancement of a nation.
The growth of steel industry in the State is largely related to the proximity of raw materials, skilled manpower, port facilities and the vast market for steel products. Given these location advantages, large numbers of mini integrated steel plants have already been set up in the state manufacturing a wide range of products such as sponge irons, mild steels, iron pipes etc. The neighbouring Eastern States of India viz. Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh are endowed with huge iron ore reserves along with cooking coal and non-cooking coal. The establishment of Bengal Iron Works at Kulti in Burdwan district of West Bengal in 1870 where the first commercial blast furnace was set up in 1875 heralded the commencement of this industry in the State.
The easy availability of power, competitive rates of freight, close proximity to areas with natural resources relevant to the industry, and labour force traditionality skilled in operating iron and steel units are factors that have influenced the surge in investment in this sector.
Under the new industrial policy, iron and steel has been made one of the high priority industries. Price and distribution controls have been removed as well as foreign direct investment up to 100% (under automatic route) has been permitted. The Trade Policy has also been liberalized and import and export of iron and steel is freely allowed with no quantitative restrictions on import of iron and steel items. Tariffs on various items of iron and steel have drastically come down since 1991-92 levels and the government is committed to bring them down to the international levels. With the abolishing of price regulation of iron and steel in 92, the steel prices are market determined. The policy devises a multi-pronged strategy to achieve these targets with following focus areas; removal of supply constraints especially availability of critical inputs like iron ore; improve cost competitiveness by expanding and strengthening the infrastructure in roads, railways, ports and power; increase exports; meet the additional capital requirements by mobilizing financial resources; promote investments by removing procedural delays. In addition the policy also addresses challenges arising out of environmental concerns, human resource requirements, R&D, volatile steel prices and the secondary sector.
Leather: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
Leather Industry occupies a place of prominence in the Indian economy in view of its massive potential for employment, growth and exports. There has been increasing emphasis on its planned development, aimed at optimum utilisation of available raw materials for maximising the returns, particularly from exports. The Indian leather sector meets 10% of global finished leather requirement. The leather industry is spread in different segments, namely, tanning & finishing, footwear & footwear components, leather garments, leather goods including saddlery & harness, etc.
West Bengal has been functioning as a vast raw material resource base for the leather industry in the form of hides and skins. However, Indian leather export has undergone a transition from the export of raw hides and skins in the fifties to value added finished leather in the nineties. In the context, leather processing industries in West Bengal needed a strong structural support and proposal was mooted for setting up an eco-friendly complex near Calcutta with modern technical and training facilities. In this full scale integrated leather complex, facilities for leather-finishing, computer-aided design centres, modern training centre for up gradation are also being provided. This mega complex will also have manufacturing units to produce footwear uppers, finished foot wears, leather goods and garments to catering to the expanding domestic and export markets. The availability of a wide range of cost effective leather chemicals with consistent quality is crucial for the success of such a mega complex. Entrepreneurs can set up manufacturing units in the mega complex for both tanning chemicals and post-tanning chemical auxiliaries.
Government policies in support of the industry are:
• The entire leather sector is now de-licensed and de-reserved, paving way for expansion on modern lines with state-of-the art machinery and equipment
• 100% Foreign Direct Investment and Joint Ventures permitted through the automatic route
• 100% repatriation of profit and dividends, if investments made in convertible foreign currency. Only declaration to this effect to the Reserve Bank is required.
• Promotion of industrial parks (one leather park in Andhra Pradesh, one leather goods park in West Bengal, one footwear park in Tamil Nadu and one footwear components park in Chennai).
• Funding support for modernizing manufacturing facilities
• Funding support for establishing design studios
• Duty free import of raw materials (namely raw skins, hides, semifinished leather and finished leather) and of embellishments and components under specific scheme
• Concessional duty on import of specified machinery for use in leather sector
• Duty neutralization / remission scheme
Petrochemicals: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
The petrochemical industry in India has been one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Since the beginning, the Indian petrochemical industry has shown an enviable growth rate. This industry also contributes largely to the economy of the country and the growth and development of manufacturing industry as well. It provides the foundation for manufacturing industries like construction, packaging, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, textiles etc.
The state of West Bengal accounts for almost 4% of India’s production of petroleum products and 13% of India’s polymer production. The production has almost doubled in the last decade. Crude throughput at Haldia refinery increased to 5,502 million tones and its capacity utilization increased to 91.7% during 2005-06.
The growth of the Petrochemical sector has been very impressive both in terms of units set up and investment volume. The main reason for the recent growth of this industry is due to upstream and downstream industry linkages by the oil refining and petrochemical units set up in the state. The industry is due to receive a further fillip with the announcement of US$ 1 billion gas pipeline project to bring natural gas in the state. Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. is India’s second largest integrated petrochemical complex. Currently producing 1.5 million tons of polymers and chemicals and has grown significantly to its present turnover of US$ 1.4 billion.
The major thrust areas of the policy are:
• Encourage public sector companies & nationalized banks to enter the capital market to raise resources & offer new investment avenues.
• Invite & encourage private sector investment in these industries in order to accelerate growth.
• Set up Petroleum, Chemical & Petroleum Investment Regions (PCPIR) in the state to promote investment on a global scale.
• Foreign Technology investments will be invited in the petrochemical industries.
• Encourage Foreign Equity participation in the petrochemical industries.
Food Processing: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
Indian food processing industry is widely recognized as a 'sunrise industry' having huge potential for uplifting agricultural economy, creation of large scale processed food manufacturing and food chain facilities, and the resultant generation of employment and export earnings. The food processing sector in India is geared to meet the international standards. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has the mandate to develop standards and also to harmonise the same with International Standards consistent with food hygiene and food safety requirement and to the conditions of India's food industry.
West Bengal is one of the three front running states in India in food and agro processing sector. Fruits, vegetables and cereals grow in abundance in West Bengal. The state accounts for 30% of potatoes, 27% of pineapples, 12% of bananas and 16% of India’s rice production. Additionally fruits like mangoes, papaya, guava and jackfruit and vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbage, brinjal, pumpkin, are available in plenty.
West Bengal is the largest producer of rice, pineapple, vegetables and fruits in the country and second largest producer of potatoes and lychees. It ranks 1st in total meat production (including poultry) in the country and accounts for 10% of the country’s edible oil production. It is a substantial producer of spices, coconut, cashew nut, arecanut, betel vine and oilseeds. West Bengal is also one of the leading states in pisciculture since it the largest producer of fish.
Agro & Food Processing Industries form a very important part of the State’s economy. The West Bengal Government is setting up a number of policies & plans to focus on the selected areas like vegetables, fruits, fisheries, rice, poultry, dairy & floriculture. The major thrust areas of the policy are:
• Increase agricultural production & productivity vertically through wider adoption of appropriate eco-system-specific & cost effective technology.
• Bring more area under High Yielding Variety (HYV), hybrid & improved varieties of crops.
• Emphasize increase production of pulses & oil seeds in non-traditional areas & non-conventional seasons.
• Create employment opportunities in this sector to improve the socio-economic status of the farmers & also to remove sub-regional disparity.
• Extending soil-testing facilities up to district level for proper use of fertilizer.
• Post-harvest technology for reducing loss & better marketability.
• Bring cultivable waste land & fallow land under cultivation.
• Application of low cost technology for increasing production & productivity.
• More money involvement in agriculture.
• Encourage private entrepreneurship for processing of fruits, vegetables & horticultural items.
• Promote floriculture parks & flower complexes in the state.
• Other Business Process, knowledge Process and Engineering Process Outsourcing services
The State Government is encouraging the farmers for mechanization through the use of modern agricultural implements & machines for timely farm operation & reduction in the cost of cultivation.
Textiles: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
The Indian textile industry is one of the largest industries in the world. The textile industry in India is the largest provider of employment after agriculture. This industry is one of the earliest industries of India to come into being; it is presently the second biggest industry in the world after China. Over the years, this industry has proved to be the provider of the basic requirements of the people. The industry holds a vital place in the Indian economy as it makes a contribution of 14 % to the industrial production of the country and at the same time sums up 4% of the total GDP of India. Along with contributing to the Indian economic scenario in terms of employment, involvement in the industrial production, foreign revenues the textile industry of India also contributes to the global textile economy. It contributes to the global textile fibre and yarn production.
The textile industry of Kolkata plays a significant role in the economy of the capital city of the state of West Bengal. West Bengal has traditionally been a major producer of cotton textile as well in the country. Jute textile manufacturing is the most prominent industry in West Bengal due to availability of raw jute in the state. At present there are 59 Jute mills in West Bengal. Main jute products are Hessian, sacking, jute bags, and other items produced by jute. Most of the jute mills are located on the banks of river Hooghly near Kolkata. West Bengal is the leader and pioneer in the country for the manufacturing of Jute textiles. Hosiery industry in West Bengal has a huge grow potential as Bengal was the birthplace of hosiery industry in India.
The Ministry of Textiles in India has formulated numerous policies and schemes for the development of the textile industry in India. The government of India has been following a policy of promoting and encouraging the handloom sector through a number of programmes. Most of the schematic interventions of the government of India in the ninth and tenth plan period have been through the state agencies and co-operative societies in the handloom industries. Some of the major acts relating to textile industry include: Central Silk Board Act, 1948, The Textiles Committee Act, 1963, The Handlooms Act, 1985, Cotton Control Order, 1986, The Textile Undertakings Act, 1995 Government of India is earnestly trying to provide all the relevant facilities for the textile industry to utilize its full potential and achieve the target. The textile industry is presently experiencing an average annual growth rate of 9-10% and is expected to grow at a rate of 16% in value, which will eventually reach the target of US $ 115 billion by 2012. The clothing and apparel sector are expected to grow at a rate of 21 %t in value terms.
Biotechnology: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
The Indian biotechnology sector is one of the fastest growing knowledge-based sectors in India and is expected to play a key role in shaping India's rapidly developing economy. With numerous comparative advantages in terms of research and development (R&D) facilities, knowledge, skills, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player. Biopharma and bioservices sectors contributed 63 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, to the total biotech exports. The bioagriculture, bioindustrials and bioinformatics sectors remained focussed on domestic operations, bringing in nearly 90 per cent of their revenues from India.
West Bengal has a vast knowledge base with few of the premiers institutes of India located here. Presence of Kharagpur IIT which over the years have done path breaking research in this sector is a major resource of biotechnology development. It has rich bio diversity, characterized by several species of medicinal & aromatic plants and diverse agro climatic zones. A matrix of 75 deliverable products is ready for commercialization in the agro and medical sector. Increase awareness among people about the adverse side effects of synthetic drags.
The state has been putting efforts to facilitate the growth of biotech industries and development of clean biotech technologies. The various key initiatives under this section include:
• Conserve bio-diversity through mapping and sustainable use of bio-resources.
• Create a "Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology" as a high quality support service to Biotech Industries.
• Facilitate the flow of venture capital funds and bank credit to Biotech companies.
• Spread general awareness for optimum utilisation of Biotechnology in the agriculture sector.
Automobile and auto components: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
The Indian auto industry has the potential to emerge as one of the largest in the world. Presently, India is second largest two wheeler markets in the world, fourth largest commercial vehicle market in the world. 11th largest passenger car in the world and is expected to be the seventh largest market by 2016. The growth is a reflection of the emergence of India as a global automobile hub with almost all global auto makers having set up plants in India to cater mainly to the domestic market, as also the export market. The Indian auto component industry has kept pace with technological developments and is today catering not only to OEM and Tier I auto makers in India but abroad as well. Many Indian auto part makers have today also succeeded in emerging as the supplier of choice to global auto majors.
West Bengal has traditionally been very strong in the engineering industries and has been an important manufacturing base in the past. West Bengal’s Hindustan Motors was one of the pioneers by commencing production of vehicles in the state in the year 1948. Recently it has collaborated with Mitsubishi Company of Japan to diverse into a wide range of cars and manufactures everything related to automobile industry like trekkers, trucks, and also luxury cars like Mitsubishi Lancer and touching a consolidated net sale of US$ 233.47 million in the last fiscal year. West Bengal realizing this huge potential in this sector has geared up with appropriate plans and policies to boost this sector. Also it has got certain inherent competitive advantages since the state is located in the heart of India’s steel and manufacturing cluster.
A number of policy initiatives have been taken by the government to facilitate the automotive industry. These include:
• Permitting 100% FDI in this sector & removal of minimum capital investment norm for fresh entrants.
• Establishing an international hub for manufacturing small, affordable passenger cars & a centre for manufacturing two-wheelers.
• Conducting incessant modernization of the industry & facilitate indigenous design, research & development.
• Leveraging State’s software technology into automotive technology wherever relevant.
• Encouraging development of vehicles propelled by alternate energy sources.
• Development of domestic safety & environmental standards at par with the international standards.
• Emphasis on low emission fuel auto technologies & availability of appropriate auto fuels.
The State is also encouraging dynamic investment in the sector to create an environment for volume production & indigenous capability for small cars & auto parts.
Tea: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
Tea is indigenous to India and is an area where the country can take a lot of pride. This is mainly because of its pre-eminence as a foreign exchange earner and its contributions to the country's GNP. In all aspects of tea production, consumption and export, India has emerged to be the world leader, mainly because it accounts for 31% of global production. It is perhaps the only industry where India has retained its leadership over the last 150 years. Tea production in India has a very interesting history to it. The range of tea offered by India - from the original Orthodox to CTC and Green Tea, from the aroma and flavour of Darjeeling Tea to the strong Assam and Nilgiri Tea- remains unparalleled in the world.
West Bengal is the second largest tea growing state in the countryl contributing almost 21% of the total production in the country. There are three tea-growing zones in the state; Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars. Darjeeling tea is considered to be the finest in the world. There are 343 tea gardens in West Bengal covering 1,03,950 hectares planted area. Some of the major players in the Tea industry in West Bengal include Tata Tea Ltd, James Finlay & Company. Both of them together are representing world’s second largest global branded tea operations with product and brand presence in over 50 countries. Goodricke Group Ltd. (GGL) a part of the UK-based Cammelia Plc, the world’s single largest tea producer in the private sector. In India it is the third largest tea producer and the leading producer of Darjeeling tea.
The tea industry in India is highly regulated. It requires licenses for its import or export. While The Tea Act, 1953 controls production and distribution activities, the Tea (Marketing) Control Order, 2003 regulates tea sales and stipulates that a defined percentage of tea produced from each garden be sold through the auction system. In addition to this central cess, States also levy sales tax on sale of tea. Profits from production and sale of tea are subject to agricultural income tax by the states. Thus, the residual income after paying corporate tax is taxed again. This tax is levied on profits accruing to gardens located in respective state. 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in tea industry is permitted subject to compulsory divestment of 26% equity of the company in favour of an Indian partner / Indian public within five years from the date of investment.
Tourism: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
Tourism has become an important industry in many countries of the world, both in the east and the west. Various initiatives are being taken by the Government and other organizations to promote tourism here. Tourism in India is the largest service industry, with a contribution of 6.23% to the national GDP and 8.78% of the total employment in India. India's rich history and its cultural and geographical diversity make its international tourism appeal large and diverse. It presents heritage and cultural tourism along with medical, business and sports tourism. India has one of the largest and fastest growing medical tourism sectors.
West Bengal has the widest variety of attractions in terms of tourist spots from the bustling Kolkata Megapolis with its historical and modern charms, to the zones of tranquillity like the Himalayan terrain in the north to the Sunderbans in the south. The state is endowed with all the diversities of nature that is a tourist’s dream. From the arid Chhota Nagpur plateau region in the west, forests in the north and south, mountains in the north, sea beaches in the south and rivers crisscrossing the whole of the state the varied panorama offers the discerning traveller a very wide choice and caters to the requirements of varied travel segments. More specifically, the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas, Darjeeling, referred by many as the Queen of the Hill Stations, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway declared as a World Heritage Site, the vast tea estates of the Dooars, the famed Royal Bengal Tiger of Sunderbans, the innumerable historical landmarks of India’s and Bengal’s glorious history are all wonders for the prospective tourists.
In order to develop tourism in India in a systematic manner, position it as a major engine of economic growth and to harness its direct and multiplier effects for employment and poverty eradication in an environmentally sustainable manner, the National Tourism Policy was formulated in the year 2002. Broadly, the “Policy” attempts to:-
• Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth;
• Harness the direct and multiplier effects of tourism for employment generation, economic development and providing impetus to rural tourism;
• Focus on domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism growth.
• Position India as a global brand to take advantage of the burgeoning global travel trade and the vast untapped potential of India as a destination;
• Acknowledges the critical role of private sector with government working as a pro-active facilitator and catalyst;
• Create and develop integrated tourism circuits based on India’s unique civilization, heritage, and culture in partnership with States, private sector and other agencies; and
• Ensure that the tourist to India gets physically invigorated, mentally rejuvenated, culturally enriched, spiritually elevated and “feel India from within”.
Waste Management: Project Opportunities in West Bengal
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal, managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is a distinct practice from resource recovery which focuses on delaying the rate of consumption of natural resources. The management of wastes treats all materials as a single class, whether solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive substances, and tried to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of each through different methods.
There are 609 hazardous waste generating units in West Bengal. Amongst the nineteen districts of the state, two districts (Darjeeling and South Dinajpur) do not generate hazardous waste. The total quantum of hazardous waste generation from West Bengal is 2,59,776.24 metric tonnes per annum. (MTPA), out of which 46 per cent (1,20,596.41 MTPA) is landfillable, 49 per cent (1,26,596.38 MTPA) is recyclable and the remaining 5 per cent (12,583.45 MTPA) is incinerable by nature. Interestingly, it was observed that the majority of hazardous waste generating units in the state is small and is generating meagre quantity of waste, whereas the units generating substantial amount of hazardous wastes are limited in number.
The Central Government notified the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules 2000 under Sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 for the purpose of managing municipal and urban wastes/garbage in an environmentally sound manner. Government of West Bengal are the nodal agencies for technical guidance and preparation of project report for the development of municipal solid waste management plan for the municipal authorities situated within Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) and Non-KMA areas respectively. National policy on waste management is set out in the October 1998 policy statement on waste management- Changing our Ways. It outlines the Government's policy objectives in relation to waste management, and suggests some key issues and considerations that must be addressed to achieve these objectives. The policy is firmly grounded in an internationally recognised hierarchy of options, namely prevention, minimisation, reuse/recycling, and the environmentally sustainable disposal of waste which cannot be prevented or recovered.