Calcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in IndiaCalcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in India

History & Relevance

In 1830 some traders and craftsmen of Calcutta organised themselves to form the Calcutta Trades Association which was a new kind of commercial organization, the first of its kind, not only in the country, but also in the far East. The records of the Association show that the idea of business assembly was first mooted at a meeting held on the 5th July, 1830 attended by about 200 traders of Calcutta and Calcutta Traders Association was born under the aegis of Mr Samuel Smith who assumed the post of the president.

The meeting was convened at the suggestion of Hon'ble Sir Charles Edward Grey, the then Chief Justice of Bengal who was the Commissioner of the Insolvent Court advised. The Calcutta Trade Association was born thereafter, from realization of a handful of businessmen with certain interests and objectives in common which could be furthered by common action.

On the 29th of December 1834, the Association was granted recognition as the first public body with powers to address the Government direct and on the 18th of January, 1883 it acquired the status of a corporate Body immediately following the incorporation of the Indian Companies Act, 1882. The most distinguishing operational aspects of the Calcutta Trades Association and its descendent, the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, was its contribution for improving Calcutta's civic amenities.

The Association had a great contribution towards drafting of the original Calcutta Municipal Bill. It also agitated effectively for improvement of the conservancy service in Calcutta. It was also during this post-war period that the Association took active interest in the Bengal Town Planning Bill of 1920, the Merchandise Marks Act and the Bengal Children social ills and abuses.

In the subsequent period, with rapid industrialization of the country, the Association noting the changing context of the Indian economy geared up its activities vigorously with greater dynamism and urged with patriotic adventure the pursuit of a new way of life based on social justice and stability.

The Calcutta Trades Association which was established in 1890, thus assumed the name “The Calcutta Chamber of Commerce" in 1977. It may be recalled with real gratification that this august body had established the tradition over a century and a half to serve the country and the people in material progress and help development of the metropolitan City of Calcutta.

The Calcutta Chamber of Commerce has the following affiliations and representations:

• FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry)
• ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
• AIOE (All India organisation of Employers)
• CII-Eastern Region (Confederation Of Indian Industries)



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