Punjab: Reassuring Greater Support & Progressive Policies to Investors

Government of Punjab’s recently concluded Investors’ Summit 2021 was based on the theme of Progressive Punjab- Story of Partnership, Delivery and Growth. This theme stands true to the commitment of the government to stand as true partners to industry in the growth and development of the state. Punjab primarily an agrarian economy is now fast emerging as a hub of industrial activity, due to the government’s efforts towards creating a conducive policy ecosystem and the trust put forth by the investors. Through this summit, the Government of Punjab highlighted its journey of industrial growth, achieved in partnership with the industry at every step from planning to the implementation and strong delivery of major reforms to position Punjab as one of the easiest places to do business.

The entrepreneurial skill of Punjabis is unmatched and when supported by industry-friendly policies of the government Punjab’s industrial ecosystem has seen tremendous growth. This is evident from investments worth more than Rs. 1 lakh crore, received in the State in the last four and a half years. Not only have the home-grown entrepreneurs expanded their operations in the state and become global industry champions but also the state has attracted many new investors from India and abroad due to its world-class infrastructure, attractive policy incentives, ease of doing business, strong supplier ecosystem and availability of skilled manpower.

Punjab has a unique investor facilitation model with a one-stop-office- Invest Punjab that acts as a unified regulator with an online single window system for industry to obtain all clearances, services and incentives. Government of Punjab has now also setup District Bureaus of Industry and Investment Promotion, inaugurated during the summit, for even better facilitation at district level. Further the government has taken many recent initiatives like Punjab Right to Business Act 2020, Punjab Anti Red-Tape Act 2021, Automatic Deemed Clearances etc. to reduce compliance burden and promote ease of doing business. Punjab’s Business First policy is an endeavour to provide a truly non-intrusive environment to investors, with the Government acting as a facilitator and enabler.

The summit was a testimony to Government’s efforts as key investors in Punjab participated in the summit and appreciated the support received from the entire government machinery in the different stages of their project lifecycle. Industry champions participating in the summit including Mr. Lakshmi N. Mittal, Executive Chairman Arcelor Mittal, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group, Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group, Mr. Sanjiv Puri, Chairman & MD ITC Limited, Mr. Harsh Pati Singhania, Vice Chairman and MD J K Paper Limited, Mr. Dilip Shanghvi, Founder & MD Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman & MD Hindustan Unilever Limited, Mr. Rajinder Gupta, Chairman Trident Group, Mr. A. S. Mittal, Vice Chairman International Tractors Limited, Mr. Prakash P Hinduja, Chairman-Europe Hinduja Group, Mr. Kamal Oswal, Vice Chairman and MD, Nahar Industries, Ms. Suchita Oswal Jain, Vice Chairman and Joint MD, Vardhman Textiles and many more shared their positive experience of investing in the State. Investors were unanimous in appreciating the pro-business environment and forward-looking policies in the State. Summit saw new investments worth Rs. 7,700+ Cr. committed by industry stalwarts which shows their faith in the State Government’s promise.

Walking the talk of working with the industry for mutual progress and growth, Hon’ble CM Shri Charanjit Singh Channi announced many key reforms during the summit. These reforms were based on extensive consultation with industries to remove the impediments to growth of their businesses. Besides promising a faceless and seamless system of providing clearances and services to industries, Hon’ble CM also announced relaxation in rules and simplification of process that are deem to reduce compliance burden on industry. These decisions include scrapping 40,000 of the 48,000 pending VAT cases related to FY 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, abolishment of the institutional tax, reduction in number of mobile squads from 14 to only 4, reduction in fixed charges on electricity connections for the micro, small and medium industry having load upto 100 KVA by 50%, simplification of the procedure for change of land use, and relaxation in rules for width of approach road for industries from current 6 karam to 4 karam etc. Besides he also announced a one-time settlement (OTS) scheme for the defaulters to be introduced in Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) and an amnesty scheme to be introduced for the plot holders of the Punjab State Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC). Further as per the demands of the industry, it was announced that INR 150 crore will be spent on upgrading the infrastructure in the industrial focal points, a new exhibition centre will be set up in Amritsar, a new Film City will be set up in Mohali and Halwara airport will be completed within 8 months.

As also acknowledged by Industry Associations in the region, CII-Punjab and PHDCCI- Punjab, these initiatives will go a long way in providing ease of doing business to existing industry and support them in their recovery from the pandemic. Most of these announcements have already been notified by the Government to enable the industry to take timely benefit of the same.  This collaborative effort by Government and Industry will ensure that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the State is now back on the trajectory for high growth and prosperity.

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