Bengal ropes in Mohandas Pai to spur IT investments

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra said on Wednesday that former Infosys director T V Mohandas Pai will lead the startup movement in his state.

"Mohandas Pai will lead the startup movement in West Bengal," Mitra told reporters at an investment roadshow organised jointly by the West Bengal government and FICCI in Kolkata. Mitra said Pai has agreed to send a draft of a startup policy, which would be refined and taken forward to make Kolkata and West Bengal the startup capital of the country.

"Pai has agreed to send us a draft startup policy. We already have startups. We will refine and will move forward, and make West Bengal and Kolkata startup capital of India," he said.

The minister also said that in the endeavour to give a boost to the startup business in West Bengal, it would take Sourabh Srivastava, founder of Indian Angel Network, on board. Moreover, in the upcoming Bengal Global Business Summit a special space will be given to starups, he said.

Talking about investments in West Bengal, Mitra said the state has attracted Rs87,000 crore worth of investments, including from leading corporates, during the last three years. Tata group company TCS is building 40-acre campus to house 20,000 IT professionals. "They will be done by this year and will be inagurated next year," he added.

Among other mega investment projects, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group is investing Rs600 crore for its proposed cement plant on 100 acres of land, Mitra said. Reacting to West Bengal government suffering from a perception problem, Mitra said the reality is distinct from the perception of the 34 years' rule of the Communists in the state.

"Nobody writes about the reality, but highlights the perception of the state. The reality has to reach to the people of the country, and media can do it for us," he said.

Quoting figures from the Central Statistical Organisation, he said India is growing in terms of its per capita income at 6.1 per cent, West Bengal is growing at 12.12 per cent. West Bengal as per the Centre's statistics is growing at 10.48 per cent, he added.