176TH Annual General Meeting
The 176th Annual General Meeting of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce was held on Sunday, February 3, 2008 at the Park Hotel, Kolkata.
The meeting was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Union Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. The meeting was attended by the State Bureaucrats, The Consul Generals, Renowned Industrialists, representatives of Chambers of Commerce, members and the press.
In his welcome address, Mr. H. V. Patodia, President, said, “It is a matter of immense pride that to share this moment of joy we have with us today, the Honourable External Affairs Minister of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji. We are honoured, Sir, for your gracing this Annual Session, and we would like to convey our deepest gratitude to you for the continuous encouragement that you personally have given to Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.”
While indicating the challenges before the nation Mr. Patodia, stated, “The 11th Plan has set a target of achieving an average 9 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The Plan provides an opportunity to restructure policies to achieve a new vision based on faster, more broad-based and inclusive growth. The 11th Plan proposes to focus on social and economic equity. The plan aims at making employment generation an integral part of the growth process.” He also pointed out that India has entered into a high-growth phase, with the growth rate averaging 8.6 per cent per annum in the last four years since 2003-04. During this period, the average inflation rate has been contained at about 5 per cent. As far as India’s external sector is concerned, it has become resilient. Going by the data on the Human Development Indicators, India has met reasonable success in the past fifteen years. Poverty has been reduced from around 36 per cent in 1993-94 to 22.0 per cent in 2004-05.
He further added Indian industry achieved an impressive growth in the last fiscal 2006-07. The overall industrial production grew at 11.3% in 2006-07 as against the growth of 8.2 per cent in the previous fiscal. The growth was more manufacturing sector led, which grew by 12.3% in 2006-07 as compared to 9.1% a year ago. However, the agriculture growth rate target has turned out to be a mirage. Growth in the agricultural sector has been less than 2% per annum since the middle of the 1990s. According to the Planning Commission, poor agricultural sector performance is responsible for widespread rural distress.