Chandigarh, May 13:

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has exhorted the industry to partner with the state government in implementing its social welfare agenda by contributing a part of their CSR budget to the recently launched Social Security Fund.

He was interacting informally with some of the state’s leading industrialists on Saturday evening, to elicit their views and feedback before finalising the operational guidelines of the new industrial policy.

The Chief Minister mooted the idea of the industry joining hands with the state government to build the social security network for the underprivileged sections of the state, particularly the Dalits.

The industry stalwarts were quite receptive to the suggestion, which would pave the way for the state government to reinvest the savings thus secured for the exchequer into infrastructural development for promoting industry, an official spokesperson said after the meeting. The industrialists were unanimous in underscoring the need to improve road infrastructure in focal points across the state.

The Chief Minister also urged the industry to get together to set up an ITI in the state, as part of their CSR ambit. The industry could support skill development of youth, thus also boosting employment generation in the state, he added. The industry leaders expressed their willingness to explore the suggestions, which they felt could go a long way towards bringing the state’s economic growth back on track.

The Chief Minister invited the industry to provide frank and open feedback on the industrial policy so that the operational guidelines to strengthen it in order to woo more investment could be finalised in line with the industry concerns and demands. The government proposes to incorporate time-bound steps in the operational guidelines for the industry to secure various clearances, he informed the meeting.

Though the state was not in a position to provide additional fiscal subsidies, apart from the power subsidy already given to the state, in view of the financial constraints, his government would do everything possible to create a favourable environment by streamlining systems and enabling ease of business, said Captain Amarinder.

Responding to the concern expressed by Avon Cycles Chairman & MD, Onkar Pahwa, about the power cost continuing to be too high for the small scale industry despite the power subsidy, the Chief Minister directed his Chief Principal Secretary, Suresh Kumar, to discuss the matter with the SMEs to find ways of reducing the expense.

Trident Group chairman Rajinder Gupta stressed the importance of strengthening the textiles business in the state, given the massive potential arising from export of textile goods. The Chief Minister assured of his government’s full support to the sector.

On a suggestion from Ivy Healthcare Group Chairman S. Gurtej Singh, the Chief Minister promised to look into extending more benefits to the healthcare industry, though provisions were already included in the new industrial policy to treat it at par with various other industries, such as Power. The meeting also discussed steps to further promote Medical Tourism in the state.

Vardhman Group Executive Director Sachit Jain welcomed the suggestion of the Chief Minister for industry to proactively support the Government’s drive to improve the education system in Punjab. Captain Amarinder mooted the idea of industries monitoring the progress in schools. Jain, who is also chairman of CII Northern region, appreciated the reduction in the power tariff, while underlining the need to encourage expansion of the existing industries to incentivize others to invest in the state.

While Anup Kumar, MD of Mrs. Bector’s Food Specialties Ltd, called for incentives from the government for 100% export oriented units, Kamna Aggarwal, chairman of Engineering Export Promotion Council (North India) stressed that the Industries department needed to be more proactive to promote MSMEs. The Chief Minister said his government proposed to set up five district levels offices of Invest Punjab to give a push to MSMEs and streamline the processes and systems for promoting industry.

Sonalika ITL Chairman LD Mittal raised the issue of mismatch of GST on input and output for goods like agricultural implements, while, Viren Popli, COO of Swaraj Tractor Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, pointed out that the industrial policy suffered a lacuna in not including concessions for encouraging Research and Development.

The Chief Minister said he would look into all the suggestions and ensure that the operational guidelines are structured to address all the major concerns of the industry. He reiterated his government’s commitment to taking all necessary steps to revive industrial development in the state, which he said was the only way to boost its economic growth.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Media advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Additional Principal Secretary to CM Girish Dayalan and Protocol Officer SP Garg.

Other eminent industrialists including Vice Chairman and MD Nahar Industrial Enterprise Ltd. Kamal Oswal, Chairman Quarkcity Mohali Fred Ebrahimi, MD Cremica Food Industires Ltd. Akshay Bector, Chairperson, Engineering Export Promotion Council North India Ms. Kamna Raj Aggarwal, COO Swaraj Tractor Divison, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Viren Popli, MD Kandhari Beverages Ltd Jaspal Kandhari and MD ITC Sachid Madan also attended the meeting.


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