In the current era of building businesses and investment environment in a region, investment promotion and facilitation is one of the principal elements. It is a focused approach to help increase both domestic and foreign investment and thereby contribute to the region’s economic and social development. The state of Punjab in India has emerged as one such place where the government greets business like the sky greets the morning sun. Invest Punjab is an exclusive government agency which is a one-stop-shop for all the investment and business needs of the state.
The need for a standalone invest promotion agency (IPA) is recognized by UNCTAD1, OECD2 and the World Bank.
Investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are potentially key institutions for delivering increased levels of welfare. There has been a rapid increase in the number of IPAs operating throughout the world and a growth in the resources dedicated to investment promotion since the 1980s.
-UNCTAD Report 2008
Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors. Given the dual polity system (federal in nature) of India, the actual on-ground realization of promotion and facilitation is only possible if the states in the country seamlessly blend with the IPA approach. That is why states need their IPA as well. We at Invest Punjab (Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion) take much pride in the fact that we are the first IPA in the country to be set up in the year 2013 (even before Invest India came into being).
Invest Punjab acts as the single point of contact for the facilitation of investors keen to set up a business in Punjab. Working as a one-stop office for providing state-level regulatory clearances and approvals for fiscal incentives, Invest Punjab is one-of-its-kind in India owing to its dual responsibility. Presently, 12+ participatory departments are under its purview and 23 officers from different state departments work directly under the Bureau. There is a dedicated relationship officer. In 2017, Industry and Business Development Policy was introduced with bold reforms, restructures institutions, and presents a holistic framework for sustainable industrial growth of the State of Punjab. The policy is architected around eight core strategic pillars of Infrastructure, Power, MSME, Ease of Doing Business, Startup & Entrepreneurship, Skills, Fiscal & Non-Fiscal Incentives and Stakeholder Engagement supported by Sector Specific Strategies for growth. Moreover, the policy envisages substantial alignment and synergy with respective sectoral policies of the Central Government.
Invest Punjab’s role in Image Building: The Bureau conducts regular online conferences and summits with the different country desks and missions and actively participates in Invest India investment events at domestic and international level. The Bureau recognizes that the current investors/business houses of the state are the beacons of its work and regularly seeks feedback and recognizes their great work and shares it across with pride at all its business events. With strong presence on social media, Invest Punjab has buzzing handles at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Quarterly newsletters and regular blog posts help narrate the potential of the state and the changing business landscape.
Investor servicing or facilitation: Invest Punjab has adopted innovative measures by integrating technology, administrative regulatory procedures, investment incentives, and dialogue mechanisms for existing and new businesses in the country. There is a single online application form for regulatory approvals, all applications are processed online, all payments are made online, integrated aftercare services and open channels available for feedback/ policy advocacy to the Government.
Over the years Invest Punjab has rapidly climbed up the ladder of national IPA ratings. In the latest report, State IPA Rating 2020 – Invest Punjab has emerged as the top-rated performer (reaching the pinnacle of 100% across all pillars) among 20 states of the country which participated in the survey.
The rating reflects and reinforces the business climate in the state. Punjab has taken clear and concrete steps to build brick by brick – systems and processes and brought the ‘soft’ change in the bureacratic will and intent of the state’s machinery. The investment enablers, under State Reforms Action Plan is an innovative step towards further building and strangthening the channels and bridges across all state departments for seamless delivery of government approvals and permits. Punjab surely is living up to its ‘Business First’ approach.