Kolkata: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the political change in West Bengal has not only raised the level of people's expectation but also created a significant scope for attracting capital to help increase the growth rate.
   
Noting that the subdued growth of the state could be linked to the industrial sector, Mukherjee said that the industrial climate needs to be improved.
   
The infrastructural gaps also needed to be filled up, the minister told a seminar on West Bengal organised by industry body Assocham here on Sunday.
   
"Rapid development of infrastructure is the key to sustain high rate of growth in the medium to long-term," he said.
   
"The political change in West Bengal clearly shows that the expectations and aspirations of the people of the state have risen. I am happy that the Chief Minister is responding to them," he said.
   
He said West Bengal was emerging as a new investment destination and data showed that prospective investors were showing interest in the state.
   
"While 900 projects involving Rs 6.11 lakh crore were live, fresh investment proposals worth Rs 58,000 crore have been received," he said.

Noting there were opportunities for recovery in West Bengal, Mukherjee said the state's growth lagged had behind the national level for a substantial period of time.
   
"This may be due to policy framers having a different perception," he said.
   
He, however, acknowledged that latest data showed that West Bengal was contributing 6.6 percent to the national GDP and that the state had improved its performance in the agricultural sector significantly despite having only three percent of the country's cultivable land.
   
Mukherjee said the one advantage the state was enjoying was in the power sector.
   
"Performance of the power sector in West Bengal is the best in the country. Peak hour power deficit of the state was minimal which can be utilised in attracting industries", he said.
   
He also added the state had good scope for the machine tools sector, petrochemicals downstream industries, IT, leather and food processing clusters, pharmaceuticals, bio-technology and high precision machines.


(Agencies)