Reliance Industries’ CMD Mukesh Ambani, on February 7, 2019, announced Rs 10,000 crores more of investment in West Bengal, in expansion of his firm’s telecom network, as also a new e-commerce venture. Ambani, who heads India’s biggest private sector company, said his firm’s investment in West Bengal had grown from Rs 4,500 crores in 2016 to Rs 28,000 crores.
“This accounts for about one-tenth of our total investments in India, so far,” he said adding the firm’s telecom arm, Jio has become the largest investor in the digital space in the state. “Now, we have firmed up our plan for a further investment of over Rs 10,000 crores,” he told the Bengal Global Business Summit at Kolkata. Fresh investments would be in extending Jio’s high-speed 4G network coverage to the entire state within 2019, connecting homes with fibre to carry high-speed internet and HD quality broadcasting and in a logistics hub.
“West Bengal is poised to become the logistics hub of the east, with plans to attract investments of Rs 5,000 crores by 2020. We at Reliance operate nearly three million sq ft of warehouses in Bengal and with our new commerce initiative, this will increase manifold in the next 24 months,” he said.
Jio and Reliance Retail will shortly launch a unique new commerce platform, which will bring win-win benefits to consumers, retailers and producers, he said without elaborating. “Across the country, this platform will enrich and empower as many as three crore small shopkeepers,” he said.
“Bengal’s GDP has crossed Rs 10 lakh crores. It was less than Rs four lakh crores at the beginning of this decade,” he pointed out. The state’s GDP growth at 9.1 per cent, is higher than the national average. “West Bengal has gained a foothold in the group of the fastest-growing states in India, with an all-around turnaround,” he said adding that agriculture was booming and farmers’ incomes rising.
Ambani said India, in 2019, is all set to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, overtaking the United Kingdom. “We are ahead of all countries except the United States, China, Japan and Germany,” he said. “In about a decade, India will become the third-largest economy with a GDP of over USD 10 trillion, which is about four times the size of our economy today.” In two decades, India will become the second-largest economy in the world, he said expressing confidence that the country can even overtake China to become the world’s no 1 economic power by 2047.