Indian Chamber of Commerce Hosts Bihar Investors’ Meet
Kolkata, 14th July 2023:
The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted an interactive session on Bihar Investors’ Meet at the ITC Sonar in the city on Friday, 14th July 2023. The investors’ roadshow centred on business opportunities and investment opportunities in the state of Bihar. The session was attended by eminent personalities such as Shri. Sandeep Poundrik, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries, Government of Bihar, Dr. Rajeev Singh Director General, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Sanjay Jain Chairman, ICC Textiles Committee & MD, TT Limited and Mr. Naresh Juneja Chairman, ICC Leather Committee & Chairman, Fenasia Ltd.
While delivering the welcome address, Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General, of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said “The Indian Chamber of Commerce has a presence in Patna, and the organisation is dedicated to doing whatever in its power to assist the state of Bihar in luring investors. In any event, the chamber’s mandate includes supporting our members’ industries and assessing their expansion plans in addition to working with state governments. Mr. Poundrik has been a constant factor, highly committed to the industry growth in the state. There is no doubt that the state of Bihar has the largest domestic market and the most important thing is the workforce. Bihar has a large population of highly trained individuals who are everywhere. I’m confident that it will be seen positively in light of the potential, the market, and the Bihar Government’s offer.
While speaking on the business and investment opportunities in the state of Bihar, Shri. Sandeep Poundrik, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries, Government of Bihar, commented, “Whenever people hear about Bihar, they often form an impression that is generally unfavourable or unflattering. Bihar boasts a substantial pool of highly skilled human resources. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of 1.5 million individuals returned to Bihar, contributing to the abundance of manpower available in the region. Our state is also blessed with abundant water resources, including prominent rivers that provide valuable resources for the textile and leather industries. We also excel in the production of fine-quality silk. Notably, Bihar holds the top position in jute fibre production within the country and is home to 8% of the nation’s total bovine population. Moreover, we provide robust policy support and foster congenial industrial relations, such as the Bihar Textile & Leather Policy 2022, the Bihar Start-up Policy 2022, and many more. I would like to highlight the strategic location and significant market linkages of the state, accompanied by its substantial consumer base. With a population of approximately 13 crores, Bihar stands as the third-most populous state in the country. Its advantageous position provides convenient access to neighbouring countries. Furthermore, Bihar also boasts a strong base of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), contributing to exceptional economic growth. Even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we achieved a commendable growth rate of 2.5% in 2020–21, while the national growth rate stood at -7.2%. Furthermore, Bihar’s growth rate for 2021–22 reached 10.9%, surpassing the national growth rate of 8.7%. Additionally, Bihar exhibits a transparent and proactive governance approach, facilitated by a robust online single-window system, ensuring timely payment of incentives. I can assure you that we pay incentives on time with an accuracy rate of 95%. The Bihar Industrial Investment Promotion Policy 2016 provides incentives for industrial investment, including interest subvention, tax benefits, reimbursement of SGST, electricity duty reimbursement, and support for skill development. The policy offers interest subventions of up to 10% or 12%, reimbursement of SGST up to 80% or 100%, full reimbursement of electricity duty, skill development incentives up to INR 20,000, 100% reimbursement or exemption from stamp duty registration fees, and 100% exemption from land conversion fees depending on the industry. Just as Dhaka in Bangladesh serves as a prominent industrial hub, there exists a place in Bihar bearing the same name—Dhaka. Our objective is to transform Dhaka, Bihar, into a thriving centre for the textile industry. To conclude, I can highlight that we provide comprehensive services, including guided tours to available plots and Plug & Play facilities, opportunity assessment, support in obtaining necessary NOCs/licences and departmental approvals, Single Window Clearance, assistance in bank linkages, and 3-6 months of training support for skill development.”
While addressing the theme, Mr. Sanjay Jain Chairman, ICC Textiles Committee & MD, TT Limited, stated, “Having met many bureaucrats, I can confidently declare that Mr. Sandeep Poundrik is the greatest I have yet to meet. Despite being the additional chief secretary of the Bihar government, he is quite grounded. He has very clear thinking. As the head of the most important department, the Industries Department, he is always available, even for minor clarifications. It was eye-opening for me to see how the government and bureaucracy embraced the industry when I was in Bihar in June of last year for the introduction of the Textile Policy. The policy is unquestionably fantastic, but I’ve been following the different phases for the last year, so I can state that it isn’t just a paper policy that should be used, followed, and appreciated. The reason I chose Bihar is because, as the chairperson of the textile industry, if you are running an industry today, you will know there are two things that are going to be a premium in India as well as abroad, which are labour and water. In all honesty, people are always a little afraid of the name Bihar. Due to frequent rains and the gift of Mother Ganga flowing from the state’s centre, Bihar enjoys a surplus of water. If you visit any region of the nation, you will see workers from Bihar operating machinery and industries that produce things for export. Bihar also has a lot of labour, and the country runs thanks to them. Labour is a crucial component if we want to be a powerhouse. A recent incident in Tripura involved the return of the Bihar workers, which paralysed the nation’s largest knitwear industry. I believe this is an excellent chance to have a positive administration, positive policies, a positive outlook, and investments in plug-and-play for businesses, particularly the labour-intensive ones that require water. Additionally, they have supporters who wish to extend directly across the border as well as a stronghold in Bengal, our native state. I also recall seeing a map showing that Bengal has leather facilities and that they are aiming to build leather facilities directly across the border, so you may place your units there. They offer decent insensitivity, and because I have friends in Bihar, I can vouch for this. This is a really nice comment because it comes from a businessperson, not the government. You provide less, but you make sure it’s given to the industry on time, and the industry itself is your strongest advocate, as I mentioned in Bihar last year in front of our honourable CM and other officials. They are maintaining their word, therefore it’s time we had a close look at them before being compelled to visit their state. It will be better if we make a humble beginning and see what they are offering. The way real estate in Bihar is growing offers an enormous market due to the high density of the population, just like in Bengal and UP. We are very thankful to the government for coming down here looking for opportunities. We can open up to a flurry of opportunities to take advantage of the knowledge, strength and skills for getting a foothold in a market that is equally important and provides a conducive investment environment.”
While delivering the vote of thanks, Mr. Naresh Juneja Chairman, of ICC Leather Committee & Chairman, Fenasia Ltd, said, “I believe the session enhanced us and gave us important information on the Bihar investors’ meet. Bihar is actively developing a supportive environment and forming policies so that businesses may come and expand and revitalise the state’s economy for the benefit of the whole country. Investors are receiving a lot of help from Bihar. In terms of connectivity, Bihar is a popular investment destination. Investors may benefit from the state’s top-notch logistics infrastructure. In the upcoming years, the government hopes to make Bihar the next startup hub in India. Further, we would like to organise a private gathering for leather industry professionals and do a few roadshows, starting in Kolkata and Kanpur before expanding to the rest of India.”