Chandigarh, August 27, 2012: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the industrialists and entrepreneurs to set up their ventures in the state to boost the pace of industrialisation and assured all possible help and support to them for emerging Punjab as a front runner state on the country’s industrial map.
Addressing a galaxy of industrialists during an Investment Promotion Summit on ‘Punjab Calling’ Getting Growth Back: “Government- Industry Partnership for Building Sustainable Tomorrow” organised by ASSOCHAM in collaboration with the Punjab government here at Hotel Taj, Badal said that state’s existing industrial policy would be fine tuned according to the felt need of the industry because the organisations like ASSOCHAM, PHD Chamber, CII and FICCI could give vital inputs for making further improvements in the policy as these organisations had a vast practical experience and knowledge as compared to government, which could be aptly utilised for making the industrial policy an investor friendly in the right earnest to fulfill the aspirations of the prospective entrepreneurs for attracting huge investments in the state.
Badal said that it was a high time for state’s agrarian economy to switch over in the mode of industrialization as agro-processing units have a vast scope in Punjab and interested industrialists could reap the benefits in this regard. He said that Punjab had an excellent infrastructure network coupled with industrial peace and skilled labour which has made the state as the most preferred investment destination as per World Bank study.
The chief minister mentioned industrial sector in Punjab had 31.69% share in State Domestic Product and grew at 8.46% in the year 2011-12 against national level of 7.5% which is a matter of great satisfaction and pride. Mr. Badal also pointed out that Punjab had also been adjudged the No.1 state in infrastructure development.
Adding, he said that Punjab was indeed the most peaceful state in the country where communal harmony and amity were the most redeeming factor to woo investors. Apart from this, as all of us know, Mr. Badal said that power was the engine of growth of any economy and therefore the state has rightly taken specific initiatives to make Punjab power surplus in the next one-and-a-half-year. Air connectivity in terms of the upcoming International Airport at Mohali, Sri Guru Ramdass International Airport at Amritsar besides three domestic airports at Bathinda, Ludhiana and Pathankot would certainly accelerate the pace of industrialization.
Showing deep concern over the heavy exodus of industry from state due to grant of special industrial concessions to the neigbouring states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, Badal said that he was personally not against these packages given to these states but at the same time Center should had also extended the same to Punjab.
Denial of this package to Punjab by the Centre for the best reasons known to them had not only ruined our industry but had also adversely impacted it for the times to come. He sought slew of special incentives for Punjab being the land locked state such as; restoration of subsidy on freight equalization, enhancing the currently 137 items being exported through ICP at Attari Wagha at par with nearly 6000 exported via Mumbai-Karachi sea route besides allowing Punjab to have coal linkage from the existing coal blocks of the country to augment its thermal power generation.
Highlighting the path braking initiatives to propel industrialisation in the state, the Chief Minister said 1700 acre IT Park was being set up at Mohali besides five integrated textile industrial parks in Malwa and integrated sugar parks in Majha region.
Likewise, a general focal point near Kapurthala was also being developed to cater the needs of industrialists.
Strenuous efforts have been made to horn the skills of youth by imparting them state-or-the-art training through a network of skill centers across the state. He said that the state government had signed a MoU with the world renowned German company GIZ for setting up four advanced multi skill centers at Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Amritsar at a cost of Rs.250 crore. He said that these centers would train nearly 1 lac youth by the next four years.
The Chief Minister lamented that majority of decisions taken by the Center thereby completely ignoring the interests of the states thus showing scant respect to the federalism. He blamed the Center for usurping the powers of the states contrary to the spirit of true federal structure as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Even for petty demands like sanctioning of link roads, the states have to look upon the Center, added Mr. Badal.
Speaking on the occasion, Industry and Commerce Minister Anil Joshi said that the state’s endeavour was to bring the industry out of the clutches of real estate with a sole objective to allot industrial plots to only genuine industrialists who were willing to set up their units. He said that concerted efforts had been taken to revive the industry in the state by sanctioning 17 special economic zones and ensuring single window clearances.
In his address, the Member Parliament and President of ASSOCHAM Rajkumar Dhoot appreciated the initiatives taken by the Punjab government in providing the best infrastructure for the growth of trade, business and industry in the state and exhorted the industrialists from across the country to invest in Punjab in a big way for reaping the benefits of its development and prosperity.
Dhoot announced that his group Videocon International would invest Rs.1500 crore in the state, of which Rs.1000 would be invested in the group’s IT company at Mohali and Rs.500 crore in setting up a manufacturing facility of washing machines and televisions in Punjab.
Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included Secretary General ASSOCHAM Mr. DS Rawat, Chairman Punjab Development Council ASSOCHAM Mr. Ravi Wig, Co-chairman Northern Region Punjab Development Council ASSOCHAM Mr. Ashok Kajaria and Chairman PSIDC Onkar Singh Thapar.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Special Principal Secretary KJS Cheema, Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce AR Talwar and Principal Secretary Technical Education SS Channy.