Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged the Union Government to devise a comprehensive policy for developing the border belts into industrial hubs to counter the Chinese economic threat, while reiterating his demand for special package for the border states of Punjab and Rajasthan.
Addressing an interactive session with captains of Indian industry, organised by CII and Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion, the Chief Minister said he had taken up the issue of establishing industrial corridors in border areas, especially from Pathankot down to the Pakistan border, with the Prime Minister last month, and was hopeful of a positive response.
The Chief Minister assured the industry that their investments would be safe in Punjab and his government would extend all possible support to them. Pointing out that more than Rs. 10,000 Crores of investment had already flown into the state in the last one year, Captain Amarinder Singh said his government was targeting to triple the amount annually.
His government was there to facilitate industry, whose interests would be kept in mind while formulating policies, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that the work culture in Punjab was highly conducive to promoting industry, which was needed to generate employment and revenue in the state. In his 55 years in politics, he had never seen any disruption in industry in Punjab, which had the most friendly labour, he added.
The Chief Minister sought the industry’s inputs to further strengthen the new Industrial and Business Development Policy, which was designed to promote ease of doing business. He reiterated his commitment to make Punjab the most favoured investment destination in the country.
Pointing out that Punjab had lost out on industry at the time of the partition of the state in 1966, the Chief Minister sought the constructive support of the industry in the state’s development and in dealing with problems such as ground water depletion and agricultural crisis, as well as unemployment. Captain Amarinder Singh also stressed the need for policy initiatives for better water management, given the critical water situation in the state, and crop diversification to overcome the crisis and also improve farm income.
During a question-answer session that followed, the Chief Minister said the state cabinet had recently approved operational guidelines for the industrial policy implementation, which placed significant focus on renewable and solar energy. Invest Punjab CEO Rajat Aggarwal said the state was placing special thrust on rooftop projects, besides providing land on lease coupled with incentives.
To a query related to digitisation, the Chief Minister said his government had identified 400 Government schools for computerisation in the first phase, with a total of over 17,000 schools to be computerised in the coming years.
In response to another question, Captain Amarinder Singh said the new industrial policy has detailed information regarding start-ups and entrepreneurship. The State Government welcomes all industrialists and entrepreneurs to come and invest in Punjab, which has a conducive industrial environment and also offers attractive incentives, he added.
Earlier, Chairman of CII Northern Region Sachit Jain shared his business experience with the industry honchos. Massive productivity, strong work culture, and the Government’s focus on simplifying the processes and procedures for new ventures are encouraging industrialists to invest in Punjab, he said.
Rajat Aggarwal highlighted the industrial advantages in Punjab, besides listing the incentives being offered by the Government. He said that Punjab was providing power to industry at lowest tariffs in the country, along with skilled labour and land for setting up new ventures. He said that Punjab also has the best air and road network.
Senior Vice President and CEO of The Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited Bhavdeep Sardana lauded the Punjab Government for ensuring ease of doing business. The change in government had led to a major change in the industrial environment in Punjab, with easy access to authorities, quick resolution of issues and speedy approvals, said Sardana, whose company is running one of the oldest and largest maize based units in the state since 1943 and is now coming up with a mega food park near Phagwara.
Vice Chairman, CII Punjab, Viren Popli also commended the Punjab Government for providing power at the lowest rate. He lauded the CM and his team for their inclusivity in understanding the industry, its issues and concerns, and unveiling the new industrial policy which showcases the positive intent of the Government towards industry.
The Chief Minister later held one-to-one meetings with some of the industrialists to discuss specific areas of investment and cooperation.>