New Delhi: After Mumbai, the country's next major financial hub will be Kolkata within a few years, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra said on Sunday.
"27 banks are taking land in Bengal to create a financial hub including State Bank of India which is constructing the largest training centre on 11 acres adjacent to the hub," the minister told reporters here.
"This is an indication, that they see Bengal as a financial hub. Not only that, HSBC back office is in Kolkata today. Obviously, we are moving towards competing with Mumbai. Someday because of our core competency of human capital, we will overtake Mumbai," he said.
Mitra claimed that the financial cluster that is coming up in Kolkata for various activities like banking, insurance, mutual funds and is spread over more than 100 acres of land is a "unique" example of how West Bengal is progressing.
The minister, who was in Delhi on West Bengal Day at the International Trade Fair, also claimed than 81 lakh people in the state have been provided jobs since it came to power in 2011.
Mitra said that the industrialists now feel that Bengal is the state to invest.
"As far as ease of doing business is concerned, earlier Bengal was in 15th position among the states. But now we have gone up to third position," he noted.
Regarding of launching Goods and Service Tax (GST), Mitra said he had always objected to the decision of the Centre to implement it from July 1.
He said that though his government always favours reduction of GST, "but it should have been done based on certain principles".
"28 per cent GST should have been made for sin goods like tobacco and other extreme luxury items and rest should have been under 18 per cent which could have been further reduced to 12 per cent," Mitra added.