From the time of the East India Company, West Bengal has been the eastern gateway to India. The state has played a large role in India’s overall economic growth – and for obvious reasons. The wealth of natural resources, optimal climate for agriculture and access to a highly-skilled workforce makes West Bengal one of the states in India with the greatest growth potential. At present, West Bengal is India’s 6th largest economy, contributing USD 160 billion to the country’s GDP. These factors have also made West Bengal one of the prime hubs for real estate development. While cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai have previously been the focus of analysts as centres of economic growth, West Bengal is now rightfully taking its position in the limelight. To shed light on the bright future of Bengal, property consultants Anarock have published a comprehensive report on the factors influencing the growth of this region.
Here are a few of the most important findings of the report.
The state government of West Bengal has launched a series of large-scale initiatives to drive the economy of West Bengal. The infrastructural development plans aim to improve connectivity and quality of life in the region. These will also create a more conducive atmosphere for major IT companies to set up offices here.
An Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, Asian Highways and inland waterways will make West Bengal more accessible to the rest of the country and world. Several greenfield airport projects have also been initiated to improve connectivity by air. The improved connectivity of people and goods that these projects will facilitate will improve investments in the region. In urban areas, there are also plans for new metro lines and a more extensive Bus Rapid Transit System. The report predicts that these projects will develop West Bengal into a global city, encouraging more business activity and migration of a skilled workforce to the state.
IT has been the biggest contributing factor behind the growth of Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. West Bengal hopes to tap into this catalyst for economic growth by investing heavily in the IT and ITeS sector. The state’s long-term goal is to generate 25% of the country’s total IT exports by the year 2030. To get to this position, the state plans to open 13 brand new IT Parks spread across the entire state. Additionally, the government plans to inaugurate ‘Centres of Excellence and Innovation’ to encourage an IT startup culture.
The biggest constraint to companies looking to start operations is bureaucracy and red tape. To eliminate this obstacle, the government has opened ‘Shilpi Bandhu’ to streamline the approval process for investors. They are also placing an emphasis on technology such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to improve the state of IT exports.
The report predicts that these policy initiatives by the government will spearhead growth and transform West Bengal into a financially strong power centre.
With this push for economic growth in the region, the end-result for West Bengal will be a large-scale migration of people looking for employment opportunities. A direct consequence of this will be an increased demand for quality residential and commercial real estate. Ever since 2015, the state has witnessed a slow but steady appreciation in real estate prices and capital value. With the additional initiatives taken recently, the report predicts that there will be a sharp increase in property prices. Most interestingly, this trend won’t be limited to Kolkata alone, but instead, will spread to nearby regions as well. This is likely to be because of the opening of IT Parks throughout the state.
One area that will be rising to prominence in this new economic chapter of Kolkata will be Uttarpara. With its excellent connectivity to the mainland of Kolkata, Uttarpara will soon become its sister city. With this future-growth potential in mind, Shriram Properties has launched a world-class integrated township, Shriram Grand City, to encourage IT investments and residential growth.
Since 2010-11, IT exports of the state of West Bengal has grown at an incredible rate of 14%. Even more incredibly, IT exports have increased by 21% in the period between 2016-16 to 2016-17. With the slew of initiatives, reforms and investments taken by the state government, this growth will only accelerate from here. These developments will soon make West Bengal the next major centre for real estate investments in the country.
Read the full report at Kolkata: The East’s Icon of Balanced Growth by Anarock