Looking back at 2017 – Bengal on fast track
The sun of 2017 is setting, and 2018 is on the horizon. At this juncture, let us take a look at some of the crucial events that have held up for everyone.
It is an undeniable fact that under the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress Government, Bengal has turned a crucial bend on the road to development, and now there is no looking back.
Here are 17 events in 2017 that we will all remember:
1. Kanyashree wins UN award
On June 23, 2017, the Bengal Government was awarded the United Nations Public Service Award for winning the first prize among projects in South Asia for the Kanyashree Scheme.
2. FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Bengal
The Bengal Government earned worldwide praise, including from world football’s governing body, FIFA for successfully organising the Under-17 World Cup. Two of the most crucial matches, a semi-final and he final, were both held at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
3. Victory in by-elections
All the four by-elections held in 2017 – for the seats of Cooch Behar, Dakshin Kanthi, Tamluk and Sabang – were won by huge margins by the Trinamool Congress.
4. Bengal gets new districts
The State Government created four new districts for administrative convenience, bringing the total number to 23. Kalimpong was created out of Darjeeling and Jhargram was created out of Paschim Medinipur while Bardhaman was broken up into Purba Bardhaman and Paschim Bardhaman.
5. Trinamool blooms in the Hills
For the first time ever, Trinamool Congress has formed a local government in the Hills region. Mirik Municipality is now with Trinamool Congress.
6. Mega health reform
Setting a benchmark for other states as well as the Union Government, the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill was passed by the State Assembly, brining in a raft of new measures for strengthening the health administration. Among other advantages, now, even for treatment in private hospitals, patients would be able to know the details about the cost and other aspects.
7. Balm on demonetisation troubles
The Bengal Government brought in the Samarthan Scheme in March 2017. It has ensured that those who have had to return to the state, having lost their jobs due to the impact of demonetisation, receive a one-time grant of Rs 50,000 to give them stability as well as enable them to start a new business. Along with this, they are also able to enrol in government schemes which would help them to ensure a steady income.
8. ‘Experience Bengal’ become viral
The State Tourism Department’s promotional video, ‘Experience Bengal’ has picked up a lot of praise, both in terms of the visuals and the content.
9. International business summit hits the right notes
The third Bengal Global Business Summit in January became a forum for industry interactions of the highest order. Representatives from about 30 countries attended the summit, and of course those from across India. Memoranda of understanding (MoU) worth Rs 2.34 lakh was signed at the summit.
10. Rosogolla wins it for Bengal
After a long fight, Rosogolla has been officially recognised, through the granting of a geographical information (GI) tag, as belonging to Bengal.
11. Sitalpati and gobindobhog get international recognition
The well-known aromatic gobindobhog variety of rice has earned a GI tag, giving it a locational uniqueness, and thus, a huge marketability. Sitalpati earned a similar recognition from UNESCO when it was recognised as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’.
12. Bengal leads in MSME
Over the last five years, among the states, entrepreneurs of Bengal, as a whole, have received the highest amount of loans, amounting to 15 billion US dollars. Additionally, in terms of both the number of micro, small and medium (MSME) enterprises and the number of people employed in those, Bengal stands second in the country. Almost 37 lakh MSME enterprises employ about 86 lakh people.
13. Bengal is leading in the construction of toilets
Bengal is the leading state in India in the construction of toilets. The State Government’s Mission Nirmal Bangla is ensuring that Bengal wins the race in terms of a sustainable open-defecation free (ODF) culture. UNESCO has specially recognised the state for this. Not just construction, the government is ensuring through various local campaigns that using proper toilets becomes a normal habit.
14. Stress on infrastructural development
The Bengal Government has decided to spend Rs 12,000 crore under the non-Plan head, with special stress on building infrastructure. Among the infrastructural projects completed is building 18,000 km of roads.
15. Chief Minister’s England and Scotland trip
This year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee undertook highly successful visits to England and Scotland, drawing a lot of interest from industrialists and entrepreneurs. At the various summits she attended, Mamata Banerjee held up the huge opportunities and every type of help from the government that investors will find in Bengal.
16. Horasis Asia Summit in Kolkata
The prestigious Horasis Asia summit was held in Kolkata in November, which was the first time that it was held in India. Business leaders (CEOs, promoters, founders, etc.) from 65 countries, numbering 350, attended the summit. The Chief Minister addressed the summit too, inviting investment in all sectors in Bengal.
17. Infosys comes to Bengal
That the industrial climate of Bengal is changing for the better became evident when the international IT giant, Infosys decided to invest Rs 100 crore to set up a campus in Rajarhat, which will generate 1,000 jobs.