I’ll give you what you want…tell me what’s needed: Capt to industry leaders

SAS Nagar (Mohali), December 6: Extending his government’s full support to the industry to meet all their needs, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday pitched Punjab as a state that offered them a future, with the assurance of “peace and security” to protect their investments at all costs.

Addressing a galaxy of industry and business leaders at the valedictory session of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit (PPIS) 2019, where he chose to “speak from the heart” in favour of reading from prepared text, the Chief Minister made it clear that his government was prepared to change its decades-old policies to transform the state from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

Underlining the need for a much-needed change to prevent children from going out in search of greener pastures, Captain Amarinder declared, “We cannot continue with policies that are 50 years old. We have to change if we want to remain in the game.” It was imperative to take Punjab in the direction of a progressive future, for the sake of the next generation, he asserted, expressing concern over the brain-drain from the state.

Speaking to the audience “man to man, a Punjabi to a Punjabi, and a Punjabi to those who will be Punjabis soon”, the Chief Minister said, “I’ll give u what to want… tell me what’s needed, I’ll do everything that is needed (for facilitating the industry).”

“I hope you go from here convinced that we are committed to your welfare. We will give you security, we will ensure peace for you,” he said, pointing out that Punjab offered a conducive environment for industrial development, with a productive workforce “whose output is as good as anywhere in the world…in fact better.” There are no labour problems in Punjab, no strikes, he added, reaching out to the honchos of industry and business groups.

His government, said Captain Amarinder, was committed to the promotion of industry and investment and had already taken several measures on this count. These included facilitation of access to finance for MSMEs through an MOU with HDFC bank, which had completed disbursement of loans worth Rs 1100 crores till yesterday, approval to Punjab Right to Business Ordinance and creation of a State Ground Water Authority, said the Chief Minister, amid applause.

The Chief Minister also cited other reforms initiated by his government to directly support investors. Among these were amendments to Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Factories Act 1948, Contract Labour Regulation & Abolition Act 1970, he pointed out, asserting that the state government would continue to promote more such reforms to make the process of investment and industrial development in Punjab more seamless.

Pointing to the importance of availability of industrial land for units looking to set up in Punjab, Captain Amarinder also noted that his government had recently approved amendments to the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules 1964, which will enable development of industrial infrastructure projects by easing the land acquisition process for investors.

The positive results of the government’s efforts over the past two years, said the Chief Minister, were visible in grounding investments worth over INR 50,000 cr across different sectors including Food Processing, Manufacturing and Light Engineering Petrochemicals and Pharmaceuticals. Further, he pointed out that the electricity demand from industry sector had increased by 26 percent, which was also a direct indication of enhanced industrial activity in the State.

The Chief Minister further disclosed that his government had recently collaborated with STPI, ISB Mohali & Punjab Technical University to set up (soft launch of the hub was done on 30 Sept 2019) a Startup Punjab Hub at STPI Mohali. The new facility, spread over 1.40 lakh sq ft. of built up space, is one of the country’s largest incubation facility, he said, adding that under the Neuron initiative, 3 Centers of Excellence had been established in the hub to promote R&D across IoT, AI, Data Analytics, and Audio, Visual & Gaming.

The two-day agenda of the Summit included technical sessions on various sectors including New Mobility, Industry 4.0, Skilling, IT and ITeS, MSMEs, Healthcare, Food Processing, Textiles, etc. In addition, the Summit yielded useful investor insights from Country sessions of Japan, UK, UAE and Germany.