Ms. Melinda Pavek, Hon'ble Consul General of the United States of America, Kolkata was the Speaker.
Ms. Melinda Pavek said that we are the world's two leading democracy and largest economies. We are powered by innovative people and together through actions each nation can shape the 21st Century and beyond and that is why strengthening the relationship between our countries is one of the USA's top foreign policy priorities.
She spoke on bilateral cooperation and on how we can realize more prosperous, free, interconnected and secure world as a part of our partnership. The United States and India are collaborating in every field to improve the lives of our people and contributing to the global arena. One important aspect is impact of climate change which is growing globally. The climate and green energy leaders of US and India share a common vision in this critical juncture to reduce emission and achieve climate change navigation goals.
The United States and India have very strong economic partnership. The growth size has been very amazing - by almost seven times in eighteen years and that has been a remarkable achievement. It is ensuring shared and sustainable economic prosperity for the United States and India by promoting trade & economic growth.
Dr. Atiur Rahman, Hon'ble Member, Sherpa (Economic Advisor) to Bangladesh Prime Minister & Former Governor of Central Bank of Bangladesh was the Speaker.
Dr. Rahman said that economics is a matter of connectedness of culture, society, policies, politics and so on. He stated that the market has to be for many and not for a few; if the market is for a few then all kinds of problems arise. But if this is for many then not only we are working for equity; also we are working for your own gains, the demand grows and the market also grows. Today Bangladesh and India are doing so well even in this global meltdown. He mentioned that Covid 19 has disrupted the supply chain severely. The cost of transport particularly in the shipping sector is four/five times higher because most of the ships are not plying and they still have to be paid. The Ukraine War has created further disruptions in the supplies; the economy could not pick up or recover as expected because of the war.
But this is not the end of the story. The US Central Bank has put trillions of dollars liquidity into the market just to keep their economy floating, the moment fed started tightening the monetary policy, raising policy rates six times in the last one year, raising their basic interest rates, their primary interest rates and they have not stopped and they said that they will continue to do that. Of course the Bank of England and the European Central Bank have also started this. Their treasury bonds return goes up and in this situation, the Indian and Bangladesh treasury bonds are less competitive than US bonds, therefore the dollars flying back to US and more it flows back, the dollars becomes stronger; the currencies all around the world is weaker and that has also an impact on the inflation. India and Bangladesh have also lost values in their currencies and in exchange rate and it matters for items we import. Because 40% of all the trade takes place in dollars, so more we import, more we spend and the inflation goes up and we call it really an imported inflation; the inflation which we are witnessing and that inflation is killing the small earners.
Dr. Shashi Panja, Hon'ble Minister of Industry, Commerce & Enterprises and Public Enterprises & Industrial Reconstruction, Govt. of West Bengal was the Chief Guest.
Hon'ble Minister Dr. Shashi Panja asserted that the state does not discriminate between small and big industries and supports everybody equally. The West Bengal government is revamping its industry-focused single window portal 'Shilpasathi' for a truly 24x7 service and it is likely to be launched within two months. The new portal will have more features to facilitate greater ease of doing business, state industry Minister Shashi Panja said. The 'Shilpasathi' portal had been in place for business and industry as a single point of contact for some time and now it is being rebuilt. She said that the state is working towards framing a state logistics policy. Logistics is a highly prospective sector that can attract huge investment in the state. The Centre has recently announced a logistics policy that aims to exploit multi-modal transport to reduce costs.
Dr Panja said the discussion on dedicated freight corridor will be broached upon during the Eastern Zonal Council Meeting with Union Home minister Amit Shah. She also maintained that during the meeting, topics of railway and transport will also be discussed. "56 per cent of the PM Gati Shakti has been completed and it's now at the Bengal border. It will have to be connected from the Bengal-Bihar border to interiors of Bengal. This will be discussed in the meeting as well," Panja said.
She also pointed out that the Jangal Sundari Karmanagari project by the state government will help people get into the districts that were earlier not approachable. This will benefit the industries, according to Panja. The state government had formally launched the project in February 2021 on 2483 acres of land belonging to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC). The project has been conceptualised as part of the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor, which is aimed at development of integrated manufacturing clusters at certain identified key nodes along the alignment of the Eastern Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor along Dankuni.
"Two points are extremely important for the investors - political stability and the captains of the industry," Hon'ble Minister said while adding that the state has the stability and captains, referring to the Chamber members. Regarding land acquisition she affirmed that policy is very clear and investors can handle and talk directly to the owner of the land. The state has so many industrial parks spread over 10,000 acres and it is ready to invest.
She further said that the State has large number of MSMEs - 89 lacs units occupying almost 14% of Indian MSMEs. The industrial parks are accessible with the Shilpasathi Portal. She remarked the deep sea project at Tajpur is coming up. Electric vehicles are on the agenda and the state is going green because there is a directive to reduce carbon content in the air. We have already an Ethanol Production Policy; we are reviving it further and it is being launched because that is the supply line of alternative fuel.
Dr. Gianluca Rubagotti, Hon'ble Consul General of Italy in Kolkata was the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour was Mr. Claudio Maffioletti, CEO & Secretary General, The Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dr. Rubagotti said that Italy is trying to strengthen trade and economic and bilateral relations with India. He remarked that although leather is one of the focused sectors but the country has identified the agriculture sector in which Italy can join hands. He pointed out widely used Italian technology, equipment in agriculture and food processing areas. Agriculture is important because West Bengal ranks top 5 in agri and horticulture produce but there is a lack in the value chain and Italy can apply its expertise through its special industrial cluster that they have in Romania region, one of the most famous and most outstanding concentration of this kind of capacity in agriculture. They have a particular project called Italian Orchard which has been designed by Mr. Claudio Maffioletti of Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mumbai.
Mr. Claudio elaborated upon the Italian Project that they have developed to promote entire value chain from tractors to farm machineries to cold storage technologies and food processing equipments. Through this project they have a plan to promote the Indian State like Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra and Karnataka by Italian companies. The project has been developed specially for horticultural and agriculture sector. As of today India is the major importer of fruits like apple, kiwi, pitches and so on and India has imported 1.8 US dollars of fruits. Such imported fruits are significantly higher than any European markets. The application of latest technology and know-how in the whole horticultural sector would be an effective way for the Indian economy to change the current state of affairs.
Prof. Ramesh Chand, Hon'ble Member, NITI Aayog was the Guest of Honour.
According to noted Agro-Economist and NITI Aayog member Prof Ramesh Chand, "Indian agriculture needs reforms and investment to boost jobs creation as well as for sustainable and inclusive growth. Prof. Ramesh Chand said a workable definition of Inclusive Growth has to meet two conditions : 1) everyone benefits from growth ,2 ) everyone participates in growth process. Ramesh Chand said, "Inclusiveness is not same as â€˜Inequality'. Peace and Harmony in any society depend on level of well being of all sections of the society. Exclusion can cause regime change and political upheaval."
Major challenge in Industry 4.0 is that growth can take place without increasing employment. He mentioned all those factors which enable good earning for people lead to Inclusive Development (ID).
Ramesh Chand said, "Agriculture led growth followed by Industrialisation results in high per capita income and low poverty on sustained basis â€¦ Agriculture led growth is inclusive but not sustainable if it is not followed by industrialisation." He said, "There is a need to explore possibilities of decent jobs creation in post harvest agriculture and in around agriculture".
Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Hon'ble Chief Economic Advisor, Dept. of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India was the Guest of Honour.
Chief Economic Advisor Dr. V Anantha Nageswaran on Monday said the private sector needs to invest more in technology and research and development, and pay the MSME suppliers on time to help the economy. Indian economy cannot remain "exempt" from the global challenges but it remains resilient and is poised for a rebound as the banking system is better, inflationary issues are peaking out and ongoing recovery is healthy.
Chief Economic Advisor said, "It is to our credit so far that we have managed to keep the impact at more manageable levels so far. But it should require continuous vigilance, continuous action and discipline for policymakers,". Citing examples of several economies facing very high inflation, Nageswaran said India is in a relatively better position and the majority of its sectors are doing quite well despite market volatility and inflation. Nageswaran emphasised the need to focus on R&D and innovation for long-term benefit. He said, "We need to embrace technology. On a global index, we are very low in R&D spend. Government spending is 52 per cent,".
Dr. Nageswaran also said the private sector should make payments to MSME as that will also help the economy revive better.He said the rebound in capital goods companies' order books is an indication that the investment cycle will pick up. Praising the government's efforts on several structural reforms, the economist said, "The real fruits of these reforms will be reaped from 2024 onward when the ongoing shocks will phase away." Lauding the role of the Reserve Bank of India in managing inflation by increasing interest rates, Nageswaran said he expects that the central bank will be able to bring inflation to 6.5 per cent.
The Guests of Honour were Shri Bijay Murmuria, Director, Sumedha Fiscal Services Ltd., Shri Joydeep Chaudhury, Financial Crime Compliance Risk Specialist, Standard Chartered Bank and Shri Prashant Sinha, Principal Officer and Head of Anti Money Laundering Unit, Bandhan Bank. The Session was moderated by Shri R.K. Chhajer, Chairman, Sub-Committee on Banking, Finance & Economic Affairs, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.
Shri Bijay Murmuria said that KYC principally means Know Your Customers, Know Your Clients; but RBI, SEBI, IRDA all are gunning for it the one way or other. The balance between right to privacy and knowing other details, sometime it is excessive and pinching every resident by way of right to privacy, it should be equally balanced. He also mentioned KYC is defending the risk of money laundering, financial terrorism, fraud and risk of impersonation.
Shri Chaudhury mentioned about the cyber fraud, the fraudsters are using different methodology defrauding the individual. All the border areas are the hotspot of counterfeiting fraud. After 9/11 in 2001 the entire AML landscape had been changed for all of us. RBI is collecting lot of data, lot of strictures for the banks to streamline their systems and processes to run up to FATF mutual revolutionary process. It will restrict the anti money laundering.
Shri Prashant Sinha of Bandhan Bank explained the category of customers. The high risk customers are required to give re-KYC in 2 years, for medium risk customers it is 8 years and for low risk customers it is 10 years and that is the basic concern. This is the master direction of RBI and banks have to follow. The basic purpose of doing re-KYC is to understand the customers as to what he is doing, what his exact profile is and whether the transaction in his account are matching or shrinking with the profile that he has declared to the bank.
Mr. ZHA Liyou, Hon'ble Consul General, The Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Kolkata was the Chief Guest.
While addressing the Chamber members Mr. Zha Liyou mentioned that it's a really big challenge to have Indians and Chinese to believe something beyond our borders because we are used to do the lifestyle within our borders. This is very strong, very long and it is developed. He mentioned during the Pandemic in 2020-21 we have managed to send 1500 Oxygen Concentrator within a very short time to save the lives of the West Bengal people.
Hon'ble Consul General mentioned four key points to enhance trade between India and China. Trade and investments are mutually transferable specially for both the countries. We have huge domestic market, we should continue to develop our bilateral trade and that will follow more investment. To increase our facility of investment; a very important instrument is to improve our trade imbalance. Despite many difficult situation, policy restrictions we are having bigger trade figure for 2021-22. In 2019 the figure was less than $100 billion but in 2021 the figure was more than $120 billion.
Mr. Zha Liyou also said that commodities from China and Made in China products have good market in India and China can provide high quality products and services at a reasonable price.
The speakers were Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Chaudhry, Special Secretary, Deptt. of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India, Dr. Ishita Ganguli Tripathy, Additional Development Commissioner (Policy & PPP), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Govt. of India and others.
Citing the importance of MSMEs in nation building, Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Adviser said that "Promotion of integrated cluster infrastructure development, access to finance, skill development, product diversification, marketing and branding, access to technology, and digital tools are the six pillars to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs." He also encouraged the audience to pledge and adopt the best practices concerning timely payments to MSE suppliers to enhance their performance.
Speaking on occasion, Shri Rajesh Kumar Chaudhry, Special Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, also alluded to liquidity as a critical concern. He asked august audience to deliberate on point to bring way forward as acceptance of goods services on the TReDs portal so that MSEs could utilise the same for financing or discounting purposes. "CPSEs should give the acceptance on the platform directly within the 15 days so that the MSEs are able to get discount on it", he said.
Dr. Ishita Ganguli Tripathy, Additional Development Commissioner (Policy & PPP), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India, also noted the robust increase in procurement from CPSEs while emphasising on the need to increase the procurement from women-owned and SC-ST-owned MSEs. She also spoke about the Champions portal - an internet-based centralised public grievance redressal and monitoring portal.
The workshop was attended by entrepreneurs from across the country, including several attending the live streaming sessions at Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, Chennai and Guwahati.
Ms. Rowan Ainsworth, Hon'ble Consul General of Australia in Kolkata was the Guest of Honour.
Ms. Rowan Ainsworth mentioned the recently signed India Australia Free Trade Agreement. The signing of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement is a good initiative of our close bonding and our relationship is reaching new heights. She said that our economy is highly complementary; we can provide the inputs that India needs. Both countries are working hard creating opportunities to the jobs and business growth.
Australia has specific "India Economic Strategy to 2035" to promote Australian business interest in India. Australia plans to make India their 3rd largest outward investment destination in Asia by 2035. Australian government has announced over AUD 280 million ( INR 1500 crore ) of new initiative since November 2021 to build tie across the breadth of India Australia relationship. IndAusECTA aims to double the trade. Under IndAusECTA, zero duty on 96.4% of Indian goods exports to Australia including textile and apparels, leather and footwears, furniture, gems and jewellery machinery. Australian exports to India thermal coal, alumina, metallic ores, lithium, cobalt , minerals, mining machineries , wines , many other products will be cheaper with tariffs eliminated.
To boost trade and economic cooperation, Australia plans to start a new Consulate General in Bengaluru, Australia India Infrastructure Forum, Business Champion Secretariat, Global Mining Challenge Program -India and many others initiatives. To promote and strengthen people to people link, Australia plans to start Maitri Scholars program, Maitri Grants and Fellowship program , Establishment of Taskforce on Education Qualification recognition , and many other initiatives. Under IndAusECTA, movement of goods and people between India and Australia will increase many fold and will strengthen Indian Australian cooperation not only amongst both nations but will promote cooperation with other nations in the region.
The Chief Guest was H.E. Mr. Andalib Elias, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata and the Guest of Honour was Mr. Rizan-ur Rahman, President, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Dy. High Commissioner of Bangladesh Mr. Andalib Elias said that at the time of independence Bangladesh was totally destroyed because of war. There was no infrastructure, no production in agriculture and manufacturing sector; so we had to import everything. There were two countries India and Japan came forward and provided the sovereign guarantee. We have received huge handholding support from India and we never forget that. We have a very long lasting relationship between two countries.
Mr. Elias mentioned that there was trade deficit between two countries and it is gradually decreasing. There was a time when 90-91% could be import for Bangladesh and 8-9% could be export to India, now it is 12-14%; so the situation is improving and trade has been significantly improving over the last 5-6 years even during pandemic period and it is multiplied by 2.5 times which is huge. He also said that Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in production of rice and food. Most of our products are through land ports, out of 10 land ports 7 are in West Bengal. We are working with the Bengal Government on Trade Facilitation issue and in that venture India has always been with us and we are confident that India will be with us.
Mr. Rizanur Rahman, President, DCCI shared his view by mentioning the historic relation between the two countries. He said SMEs have been the backbone of Bangladesh economy which contributes to 25% of their GDP. There is a fine line of diplomacy between India & Bangladesh. Kolkata is one of the choicest cities in India in terms of health care, tourism and so on; there is a much bigger opportunity to enhance our trade because Bangladesh has pleasant investment climate, Bangladesh has tax-friendly policies, full exit of royalty.
He mentioned we have 100 Economic Zones and invited Indian entrepreneurs to invest in the economic zones. He mentioned some of the areas like pharmaceuticals, food processing, footwear, energy, ICT where Indian players can grab the opportunities. He invited Calcutta Chamber of Commerce to Bangladesh to physically see the outstanding economic achievements that has happened. He said over the last two years Dhaka Chamber of Commerce has been specifically working to reduce the gap between industry and academia. Medical Tourism is a very strong trade and we have so many medical tourism agencies in Bangladesh and that's a huge prospect. He further said that we have a $10 billion bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India which World Bank says it has a potential of growing minimum $16.5 billion.
The Chief Guet was H.E. Mr. PHAM Sanh Chau, Ambassador of Vietnam and the Guests of Honour were Dr. DO Thanh Hai, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission, Vietnam Embassy, Delhi, Mr. NGUYEN Minh Tien, First Secretary and Mr. DO Duy Khanh, First Secretary.
H.E. Pham Sanh Chau said that Calcutta and West Bengal is very important for Vietnam as historically, economically and politically. India occupies a special place in the heart and mind of the Vietnamese people. The two nations share civilisational and cultural linkages. H.E. defined that a trusted friend can share to another trusted friend the technology in defense area, technology in nuclear area, pilot training of submarine and that's what India is doing to Vietnam. On the other hand, Vietnam also extended his hands to India during the pandemic by sending a ship with supply of masks, ventilator, oxygen, generators etc.
On the economic front H.E. said that over the past 20 years our trade has grown 600 times from 200 million to 13 billion and Calcutta is the hub because all our shipment came through Calcutta and went to Nepal. Therefore Calcutta is the trade centre between Vietnam. While mentioning the Act East Policy, H.E. mentioned that Calcutta is playing a major role. There is a direct air linkage between Calcutta and Hanoi on a daily basis. In regard to trade H.E. said that India has become the 8th largest trading partner of Vietnam and there is many Indian investors going to Vietnam for investment. The business between two countries is growing substantially because we have a very stable political system.
The Guests of Honour was Ms. Devina Mehra, Chairperson & Managing Director, First Global in conversation with Mr. Jitendra Jain, National Head - Corporate Finance, AUM Capital.
Ms. Devina Mehra well explained how inherent biases in human thinking derail our investment journey. There is a decision making framework in our brain and there are so many biases always act in our mind. We should not follow the strategy of the successful person in the market and this will derail us because the outliers take extraordinary risks to produce great returns most of the times. She added that anything in life particularly in investing, everything is a combination of skill and luck. Her advice was that don't confuse brains with a Bull Market. In investment market it means that you become reluctant to take losses of many kinds. When you are making the investment tell yourself that I could be wrong, because the fact is that the best investor also never makes 100% right decision. If you make 65-70% right decision you are right at the top end.
The Guests of Honour were CA Vikash Kumar Banka, Senior Tax Consultant and CA Surabhi Bohra, Senior Indirect Tax Expert. The session was moderated by Shri P.D. Rungta, Chairman, Tax Committee, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.
CA Vikash Banka explained the new concept of e-invoicing which has come down from 500 crore to 20 crore and this may come down to 5 crore in the days to come. E-invoicing has started in India just 1-2 years back. He said that the benefit of e-invoicing is that 83% data is of B to B supply and 17% data is of B-to-C supply in terms of volume. It will be astonished to note that 93% tax is paying by 7% tax payers and 7% tax is paying by 93% public in the total collection of GST.
In the seminar CA Surabhi Bohra pointed out various facets of e-invoicing like applicability of e-invoicing, process of e-invoicing, types of e-invoicing, amendment and cancellation of e-invoicing and advantages of e-invoicing. She mentioned that e-invoicing is not applicable on every one, few are exempted from doing the e-invoicing i.e., insurance companies, banking companies, financial institutions, NBFC companies, GTA, transportation services, service provider of multiplexes, SEZ units, government department and local authorities.
The Guests of Honour were Ms. Indrani Paul, Managing Director, Dr. Paul's Group of Companies, Ms. Shabina Omar, OSD, Dept. of Education, Govt. of West Bengal, Ms. Shaleni S Biswas, Founder and MD, Easy Note Stationery Pvt. Ltd., Ms. Jashodhara Chakraborti, Digital Publisher, Writer & Educator, Ms. Paromita Ghosh, Founder, Candid Communication. Smt. Indrani Ganguly, Vice President, WICCI West Bengal Mental Health Council moderated the session.
Ms. Indrani Paul shared her thoughts on women empowerment and what difficulty the women really face when they are trying to climb their ladder. She said the gender ratio around the world is 49.8% female vis-a-vis 50.2% male. So we are born equal and we are even in the number equal. Nari has been the Shakti always. So we need to take care of is more inclusiveness. Differences should not be there whether you are male or female. Women need to be given equal opportunities, equal compensation. It is the belief, it is the sincerity, expertise and merit which one brings to the table is the deciding factor whether you are top line or not. Ms. Ganguly mentioned that in her company 67% of workforce is female and they are heading segments which are top lines; unless and until we give powers to the top line management where females are given the power to take decision to move on and do something for themselves, there will not have a trickledown effect.
Ms. Shaleni Biswas introduced herself as a woman entrepreneur surviving and thriving her business as packaging, printing and stationery is a successful male dominated industry. She mentioned the Glass Ceiling Commission Report in 1995 identified four categories of barriers that were preventing women from achieving upward mobility in senior and executive management position in their career. Women are disproportionately failing to attain high level positions in spite of two wings excellence in their work space. She urged we should empower our women through social and economic growth, emotional and psychological development, training and awareness that can lead the efficiency of building of a woman.
Ms. Shabina explained in the session that there is no longer we are behind each other; we are beside each other, beside a successful woman there is a man. From her span of long 20 years experience as English Professor she shared her views that gender bias is not necessarily male and Patriarchy does not mean a man, Patriarchy- a system. We are all striving definitely in a Patriarchal society but we are born as a human being, it is the society that makes us masculine or feminine. So when we crack the glass ceiling we must reach out. If we reach one neighbor, one colleague, one friend, one woman in need; we have let the benefits for collate. Celebrating the solidarity of sisterhood by involving our partners, our brothers, our children, our husbands and letting the sparkle lit, letting the glitter globe and that way we definitely achieve true empowerment and it will be effective, it will be real and it will be at all level.
Ms. Chakraborti doesn't believe that creativity and business side are necessarily two very dichotomies part of arts. She presented a unique presentation and showed that everyone is creative and that's the secret. She quoted a great Philosopher's excerpt that "You will die and that is the one certainty" and therefore we must remember that the real currency of life is time, it is not money. You can gather more money but the time is limited and there are things you wish to do with it. She urged everybody to have a time table on the basis of priority and make sure you protect your creative time.
Ms. Paromita Ghosh said that when we break the bias we actually need to stop celebrating blue print birthday party for our boys and pink print birthday party for our girls. It is upon us to decide and take a decision today that we are going to raise next generation to be completely confident that what they are and empathetic of the other sexes both ways. One of the most important part that we have observed during the pandemic is of course that women really hard it bad when work from home happened, because we have to manage home and work and children without any domestic help; but a very interesting observation is that lot of men really helps the households to move on. They have learnt cooking and cleaning for the first time in their lives ever. So these are those little things that we need to feel good about what is happening around us and we need to inspire people around us to feel the same way. There are so many people around us those who are struggling for getting back to work after the pandemic, can we stand together for them and we should do something for them. On the occasion of Women's Day her message was that there is a constant lack of senior leadership in women. Can we make an effort to ensure that in our organizations the right amount of training, the right amount of organizational skills and right amount of education is imparted to the women force who are working with us; so that they get a confidence and believe in the fact that they can lead one day.
The Guests of Honour were Dr. Mou Sen, Joint Director of MSME, Govt. of West Bengal, Dr. Sabahat S Azim, Founder & Managing Director, Glocal Healthcare Systems Pvt. Ltd., Shri Pradeep Rathi, Serial Entrepreneur, Advisor, Mentor-in-Chief, Start Evangelist, Shri Somenath Chatterjee, Founder & CEO, PKS Capital Advisory LLP, Shri Anish Agarwal, CEO & Co-Founder, TABLT. The Session was conducted by Shri R.K. Chhajer, Past President of the Chamber conducted the session.
In the webinar Dr. Mou Sen described different policies of Government of West Bengal which can help MSMEs especially some upcoming green industry and different new industry. She explained the Incentive Policy of MSME which has come from July 2020 and is effective for all MSMEs who are in the manufacturing sector. There is the Bangla Shree Scheme for manufacturing industry of West Bengal. This new incentive scheme is available on the Website of Govt. of West Bengal and which is absolutely digital platform and there is no need to go to the DICs. The whole process is contactless and paperless.
Regarding Ease of Doing Business, Govt. of West Bengal has introduced the process totally online. Nobody need to run to the different offices for their trade license, pollution certificate, conversion, mutation, fire license, factory license which are very essential for setting up a industry and now it is a single point contact. All these things are available on the Shilpa Sathi Portal. Dr. Sen also elaborated on MSME Facilitation Council, the GI Process and the State Export Facilitation Centre.
Dr. Sabahat Azim said that the moment we decide to become an entrepreneur we have taken on the responsibility for creating value and we are absolutely alone and everything has to be done on our own. Bengal has some of the best talents in the world and we have created technologies which are far advance. We have a great manpower pool and we need to leverage that. Some of the premier institutions are giving theoretical knowledge but which is missing is working with machines. Every enterprise should compare itself with the global brands and with the things that people are creating across the world. We have to be agile, have to create value, how do we pay the people and how do we manage the government and ecosystem. He urged on the issue that there is a lot of old industry in Kolkata having enough resources and they should come forward to help and support the youngsters.
Shri Pradeep Rathi, the Serial Entrepreneur shared his views on entrepreneurship in two words- common sense and to stay ahead in the competition. He explained three ingredients for successful startup. First being is to take chance, second thing is to think the impossible. The other thing is that when you attempt the impossible you will fail but keep one thing in mind that the world will remember you for attempting the impossible and failing rather than doing something routine. His advice to all startup that believe in the magic of impossible. The third ingredient is that one cannot do it alone and he needs to collaborate.
Shri Rathi mentioned the Mudra Policy of Government of India where Rs.20 lacs finance is available for individual which is unsecured loan. So they made bank tie-ups with the Startup accelerators at college where the students can be getting Mudra Loans and they can create small local startups which are meant for the local level of the industry and local markets.
As an investment banker Shri Somnath Chatterjee is very keen to develop a strong ecosystem of startup funding in Kolkata. Entrepreneurship is quite a challenging task. He focused on the nonbanking and non-traditional financing which is actually happening in the country. Banks are definitely there, various kinds of loans and government initiatives are there. He is trying to get investors to start the initiatives in Kolkata and North East. Getting a loan is very difficult for startup because of insufficient cash flow. His advice for the new startups is - initially they should put some amount from their own and at certain stage when they can breathe easily, then they can approach for equity investor and that is the best way.
Shri Anish Agarwal said that one has to be very strategic and creative while designing a business model. They have started their business by replicating the model they are doing in this market. So the important part to create a strategy which is creative and is not easily duplicable and do it across the value chain. We need to build strong reputation and perception of our business. He mentioned that we have a lot of technology in our supply chain as well as customer side. So the perception game needs to be managed when we are getting into a risky territory. He said growth mindset, agility and flexibility are very important part of entrepreneurship.
The Guests of Honour was Shri Karan Kakkad, Founder & CEO, Reverse Factor, International Nutri-Genomics & Disease Reversal
Shri Kakkad explained that meditation plays a huge role in our body and with the help of meditation we can reverse many diseases. Thoughts and emotions can help us reverse disease. Every day we have 60-70 thousands thoughts and each thought has an emotion. Thoughts are language of the brain while emotions are the language of the body. Unless we change the way we think, the way we feel and the way we act; we are not going to change our life and our health.
The cells of our brain are called neurons. Neurons are fire together and wire together. If we are living in the survival mode, we are inviting more disease. Rather than living in survival mode, rather than worrying about the past or anticipating the future; we should all live in gratitude in the present moment. There are five different brain waves and they act differently. When you are in relaxed state of mind, you can create what you want in life. There is an innate intelligence that lives within us and that keeps us alive; which is pure consciousness, which is beating our heart every moment so we are this consciousness. He also stated that gratitude, kindness, joy, love, forgiveness, good food raise your energy.
The Guests of Honour were Prof (Dr.) Suman K Mukerjee, Director General, The Bhawanipur Education Society College, Shri Debasis Ghosh, Vice President - Group Indirect Tax, The Peerless General Finance & Investment Company Ltd., CA Kapil Basu, Director, Tax & Regulatory Services.
Dr. Mukerjee stated that this year budget has been pretty silent on primary deficit and fiscal deficit totally. He mentioned that India has done remarkably well in terms of growth and we are hitting about 8%. He further said that we have been able to raise about 5.6 lakh crore from income tax and the collection from corporation tax is also 5.4 lakh crore, the CGST collection is 5.3 lakh crore and the Capex has been 5.3 lakh crore.
Dr. Mukerjee said that this budget has been an amazing budget because it has focussed on the social overhead capital and infrastructure- Gati Shakati Master Plan; it has 7 engines that push the economy up. Our target should be 365 days of assured work and not just institutionalize people for employment. This is the right step taken by the government. He explained the shining part of our economy is agriculture; the growth was 3.4%, never seen in the last 50 years and it has been also industry; we need to do something about hospitality industry, tourism and travel. This budget also focused on MSME too. As per his opinion the introduction of digital currency will stop black money.
Shri Debasis Ghosh said that indirect tax is commonly meant as GST and it has become a house-hold name. But basically the mother law of customs still holds the foot because it encompasses international transactions for the country and between countries. He mentioned that some significant changes have been made in the Customs Act. One proposal has been made and that is to do away with Anti Dumping Duty permanently on alloy steel and some iron steel products and petrol products. This is a big relief to the steel manufacturing community because it was a painful element so long. Regarding GST he said that everything is vested with GST Council. Any revision of GST rate or any administrative aspects of GST are all being done by the GST Council.
CA Kapil Basu clarified that in this budget there is no change in the corporate tax rates, everything remains similar. However there are certain changes in the surcharge wherein we could see that AOPs would now be having a maximum surcharge of 15%, because all the companies in general would be having a maximum surcharge of 12% or so while an AOP which is set up with all companies was suffering a surcharge of 37% at the maximum rate, so that gets rationalized. In the case of Long Term Capital Gains the surcharge is 15%, earlier it was only with respect to LTCG on equity shares or equity oriented funds, now it is for any long term capital gain asset that will go a long way to reduce the long term capital gains incidence. Co-operative Societies are brought in line with domestic companies wherein the AMT has been reduced to 15%.
The Guests of Honour were Mr. Subhobrata Dasgupta, Director, Mind Frame, Prof. Dr. Sujoy Biswas, CEO of Techno Group University, Mr. Snehasish Sur, President, Press Club of Calcutta and Senior Journalist, Mr. Utpal Chatterjee, Former Sheriff of Kolkata, Mrs. Shirley Jayawardene, President, Sri Lanka Federation of Chamber, Mr. Sewraj Nandlal, Councillor, Mauritius Economic Development Board, Mr. Nitin Pradhan, MD, Centre for Innovative Technology and Federal CEO of ScaleUp USA.
Mr. Subhobrata Dasgupta expressed that our education system has not given much scope to inculcate in our mindset as well as the academics the curriculum that we have. We have more technical theories and that is why we find lot of cases people are unable to apply themselves in job. Whereas in the West, people are more on to the hands on, they are well versed in the practical field. We are always being lagging behind with the things. Further he emphasized that e-communication is very important because most of the commerce is happening on the e-platform. We should have ability to create new things and we should upgrade our skills.
Dr. Sujoy Biswas viewed that skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. Presently the country faces a demand-supply mismatch, as the economy needs more â€˜skilled' workforce than that is available. As per Dr. Biswas, education is simply an enlightening experience and the process of acquiring knowledge. However, it should rather be skill based than knowledge solely. Students are the human capital of the country and it is essential to empower them for the development of the country. He described three benefits of skill based education- first one is flexibility; second is acquiring experience and the third is purpose driven.
Mr. Snehashish Sur said that the scope of MSME has been enhanced leaps and bounds over last couple of years. The advancement of msme encourages various other industries where the skill is most important. The scope of innovation is much more in the msme sector, obviously without skill there cannot be innovation. So skills should be incorporated in our academics because without skill nothing is happening today. In the webinar Mr. Sur tried to explain that the categorization of skills has to be identified and the takers are to be identified and the skill needs to be area specific. The Central Government and the State Government are very keen to imparting skill. So the area-wise identification of skill and the identification of prospective takers of those fields and their connection have to be made. There is a huge possibility of exports of our cottage industries, he urged upon the Chambers of Commerce to handhold the traditional cottage artisans and the quality upliftment of their handmade products in order to link with the domestic market and also the foreign market. We should give more thrust on up skilling and re-skilling to meet the international standard.
Mr. Utpal Chatterjee, the Former Sheriff of Calcutta quoted Mr. J.R.D. Tata's way of thinking, the Father of Indian Industry that "I am a very simple man and I like to handle even complex things as simpler way as possible". He said simplicity is the hallmark of greatness, we should do everything simple and don't make it complex. Man management plays a key role in any industry. Mr. Chatterjee said that we all should be a good human being and to be a good human being we must inculcate certain values. If you inject values to your workforce, to your colleagues and to all others, then everything will work like a magic. We should pursue the values that we inculcate from your parents and subsequently from your teachers and of course from our own experience. He advised the audience to be good, act good and think good.
Mrs. Jayawardene said that MSMEs are the backbone of the economy all around the world. Approximately 400 million msmes plays a crucial role for the global economic growth in terms of number of investment and number of employment. According to World Bank, in the formal sector msmes contributes a remarkable percentage of GDP. In the low income country the contribution of msme approximately 17% GDP and in the high income country msme contributes about 40-50% of GDP. Sri Lanka pays a high attention to make MSME sector stronger. MSME instigate change for inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation and poverty alleviation. She said in Sri Lanka msme sector consists of 1 million establishment providing employment around 2.25 million people. Every country should have their own proper action plan to develop the msme sector.
Mr. Sewraj said that Mauritius has been playing a key role in improving economic growth through MSME. In Mauritius he informed that in terms of MSME, their country contributes about 40% to the economy and exports is 112% right now. Mauritius has got the population of 1.3 million people. They are one of the biggest producers of textiles; they have started their operation in 1986. Apparel industry is doing very well. Today Mauritius is the global leader in apparel industry. They have set up their operational industry in China. It has expanded overseas factories in Bangladesh and Madagascar. It has Marketing Offices in UK, France and New York. He said any one can look for business investment in Mauritius. They have very diversified economy. Their main sectors in terms of the contribution to the economy are manufacturing, tourism and ocean economy, financial services, real estates and logistics etc. India and Mauritius has a robust business relationship in terms of trade.
Regarding scaling up in the business Mr. Nitin Pradhan, Federal CEO of ScaleUp USA said that US has now become an intellectual economy in terms of plan, design development and prototype various products and services. If you are any of these areas, there is an ample opportunity for you because US is looking for partnering with you. There is shortage of labours because many Americans have taken retirement during this Covid 19 condition. These retirements have consistently been increased 3-4 million jobs and already there is a shortage of about 10 million workers in US. As a result US is not able to develop many of these products and that is why if you are an international company wanted to work in US, there might be a great opportunity for you. The other reason is that US has managed to reduce the illegal immigration to a substantial labour. Since this international immigration has stopped, it has created a shortage of manpower in US. Therefore there is a big opening for global small, medium and large business in USA.
The Guests of Honour were Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, IAS (Retd), Former External Affairs Secretary and Finance Secretary & Advisor to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Shri Ashim Sood, Advocate, Supreme Court of India.
Shri Subhash Chandra Garg pointed out that Cryptocurrencies are basically a virtual asset created initially in the form of currency but now it has many forms and uses. There are 1.5 crores holdings in the crypto in India. There is no real idea about how much money Indians have invested into it and therefore a lot of concerns about crypto assets phenomenon. Bitcoin has been invented in 2008-09 & projected as international currency which is not controlled or issued by any Central Bank or any Government. Our Government and Reserve Bank of India thought that the best way to protect Indians is to ban cryptocurrency. In 2018 the Reserve Bank decided that they will not allow the crypto to be used in the payment system. But the Supreme Court of India advised that no law of the land can say that it is an illegal business and can ban crypto.
In 2019 the government came up with a bill which basically said three things. One is let the RBI come up with the digital currency, if there is a digital currency issues by Central Bank which can serve the purpose what the decentralized currency like Bitcoin is doing, then the Indians would not use the cryptocurrency for currency purposes; Secondly in case the Central Bank is able to bring up the digital currency, there would be no use for the private cryptocurrencies that exist and the third aspect is there would be a lot of promotional activities that the underlying technology which is block chain cryptographic technology, a very promising and vibrant technology and that should be promoted in financial system and elsewhere.
Primarily at this moment two forces working on the government- one is Central Bank which says that ban the cryptocurrencies and secondly exchanges were saying that legalize this and regulate the assets. Shri Garg opinioned that the crypto's potential in the digital space is to create businesses, create services, creates goods, create assets. Every financial activity that happens in the businesses today whether it is lending or insurance or mutual funds and all can also be managed by using the crypto platform. He said that the valuation of the crypto is now 3 trillion dollars in the world.
Shri Ashim Sood said that cryptocurrency is something that is reflective of new age of our times both in India and everywhere else in the world. He said that after the Supreme Court judgment he had been contacted by the young lawyers around the world including the country such as Kenya to assist them in challenging similar regulations. The reason behind that the world is run by the people who are much younger. Cryptocurrency has now become a legitimate asset class in most financial markets. His view was that Government has to decide whether it is good or bad when they are banning a commodity or anything. A ban is the most extreme measure at law. Is the substance being banned really harmful or the harmful aspects to do that can be controlled. The Supreme Court's decision was how cryptocurrency should be dealt with any governmental authority; the government could do well to consider that it is not by itself harmful commodity; it is a legitimate financial activity. It has harmful aspects - there is speculation, there is hacking, there are potentialities of financing terror. But over the years these commodities have been controlled by the government in a way that led people aspire to make best they can from trading in those commodities but also needs legitimate governmental interest.
Further Shri Sood said that cryptocurrency is not the new technology we are facing which is creating these debates. We are a country that is very dedicated to ensuring innovation. Lastly he said that cryptocurrency has given us an opportunity to learn how to deal with the technological regulations also.