Initiatives

The Chamber understands that in order to realize its dream of seeing the re-birth of the East in all respects, be it cultural, business or socio-economic; the first step should be to educate all that business to be successful and far-reaching, cannot afford to be myopic in its vision. Therefore, in 2003 the Chamber had commenced some directed efforts which embraced new concepts that approach the issues of Resurgence of the East from contemporary avenues.
"Bengal Forward" Initiative
The Chamber has embarked on a mission to focus on areas in West Bengal, which have tremendous growth potential and yet require the intervention of a catalyzing agent, which could help in these areas realizing their true potential.


Taratolla Development

The Chamber had embarked on this with the objective of showcasing a prime industrial location within the city, which suffered from the problem of inadequate infrastructure. The Chamber had conducted a survey, met the State Government and Port Trust Officials and initiated work on road repairs, which have, by now yielded great results. Not stopping at that, the Chamber is now continuing its drive with a special project to improve all infrastructure requirements in Taratolla to transform the area into a "Green Belt" with parks, resorts, entertainment spots and so on.


Durgapur Development

The focus, in this case, is on lifestyle issues. Realizing that in spite of being an industrial epicenter of Bengal, Durgapur cannot retain its young talent due to paucity of good social infrastructure, The Chamber had taken a team of "service providers" from the education, healthcare and hospitality sectors to Durgapur. Since then talks concerning each of the sectors of focus, viz., education, healthcare and retail have progressed far with the setting up of one new educational institute. The possibilities of new-startups in the retail and healthcare sectors are also immense.


North Bengal Development

North Bengal, besides being strategically located has several inherent advantages in the agriculture, tourism and industrial sectors. The Chamber had earlier focused on agriculture and submitted proposals on alternate farming to the State Government. These have, since then, been adopted and have been successful. While the focus on agriculture continues, the Chamber this year, is stressing upon tourism since the Chamber believes that the natural and certain infrastructural advantages that North Bengal enjoys, have the inherent ability to catapult the region to the forefront of tourist destinations in the country.
"Look East" Initiative
The focus of the "Look East" Initiative is to exploit the geographical advantages of West Bengal and look eastwards and also find areas of commonality between West Bengal and select South & South East Asian countries, viz., Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. A Working Group (with representation from WBIDC, EXIM bank, ASSOCHAM and The Bengal Chamber) was created to take this initiative forward and it had meetings with consular representatives in Kolkata and senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in New Delhi.

As a follow up to the meeting with Shri Rajiv Sikri, Special Secretary and Shri Rajiva Misra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India at the ASSOCHAM House in New Delhi, the Chamber had prepared a position paper identifying the areas of focus for exports; aspects for regional trade agreements; economic environment in the select countries of focus in South East Asia; prospects in bilateral relations and transit and transportation issues prevalent in the region.

The study is being taken forward with a renewed focus on those particular areas, in which West Bengal has comparative advantage and the issues pertaining to infrastructure bottlenecks, the politics of regional agreements and trade policy in the post WTO order will be covered. On this, The Chamber is working together with the Government of West Bengal.
Putting West Bengal in Perspective
This is a unique project undertaken by the Perceptions Sub-Committee of the Chamber. The image of the State in terms of work culture, inadequate road infrastructure, etc. has taken a beating in recent times. The objective is how to get into the league of the most developed States of the country.

The Sub-Committee realizes that business is solely driven by the market and there is a need to "market the market of the East" before seeking investments.

To do this, there is need to put forward to the Government in one canvas the true perspectives and the new strategy.

Although South is perceived to have a much better market, West Bengal and the East have their own sub-cultures, and there are several sectors in which the East is indeed at par with the South in terms of the size of market and buying power.

The Sub-Committee comprises of economists, market research and financial experts business leaders and entrepreneurs and it is through the combination of such skills that the Sub-Committee is working on a presentation based on hard facts and data.

The attempt is to hold a mirror to the State Government about the ground realities.