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Transforming Punjab

Transforming Punjab

The first-ever Progressive Punjab Investors Summit attracted commitments worth Rs 65,000 crore, but infrastructure enablement will be a critical factor in realising those investments. A report.

With a slew of infrastructure project developments underway, Punjab is all set to provide the much needed support for the industrial growth in the state.

Punjab has been in the limelight of being the ‘food bowl’ of India with its fertile and productive soil. The state has accorded the status of ‘Granary of India’ and the ‘Bread-basket of India’. The state has also proved that the environment is good for industrial growth with its traditional sectors of textile and engineering sectors growing fast. The overall growth prospects has attracted the industry towards the state and now Punjab is all set for a major investment destination for various industries. The first-ever Progressive Punjab Investors Summit attracted investment commitments worth Rs 65,000 crore which can transform the future of Punjab.

Punjab offers industries with a wide range of fiscal and policy incentives under the Industrial Policy 2009 and 2013. In addition, the state has policies to offer sector-specific incentives to sectors such as information technology (IT), SEZs and food parks.

The growth of industry and agriculture is supported by an improving infrastructure in Punjab. The state has well-developed social and industrial infrastructure. Punjab’s transport network is one of the best, with easy access to key markets such as the Delhi-NCR region.

It has witnessed impressive growth in the number of clusters and hubs as public-private partnerships (PPPs) are being developed.

Major infrastructure developments

The government of Punjab and the Central government have taken keen interest in the various infrastructure development activities in Punjab. Some of the development activities are given below.

The union cabinet last month gave its approval for setting up the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC) and formation of the AKIC Development Corporation (AKICDC). AKIC is proposed to be developed in a band of 150-200 km on either side of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), in a phased manner, and would therefore comprise a belt of at least 5.5 lakh sq km in the seven states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal.

In November 2013, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved six-laning of the Jalandhar-Amritsar section of National Highway-1 in Punjab under the NHDP phase II programme.

The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 523.85 crore including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be about 20 km.

Working towards a sustainable energy future, Punjab has made significant headway in setting up solar power projects in the state. Recently, Welspun Energy (WEL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Punjab government to set up solar power project of 150-MW capacity. WEL will invest over Rs 1,300 crore for setting up this solar project over the next three years. WEL is already developing a 35 (DC) MW solar project in the state.

In order to give an uplift in the telecom infra¡structure, the Reliance Industries plans to connect each and every village of Punjab with its 4G broadband service in eight months. Once implemented successfully, this can be a path-breaker for other states in India.

New industry policy

The new Industrial Policy 2012-13 announced by the Punjab government is expected to support the industry in Punjab in a big way. Under the new incentive-based policy, the state has approved a liberal package of fiscal incentives for manufacturing sector, integrated textile units, agro and food processing sector, electronics hardware and information technology. In the policy the state offers incentives on VAT and CST, electricity duty, stamp duty, property tax, purchase tax (on select commodities), market fees, rural development fund (RDF) and infrastructure development cess.

The new industrial policy and the various infrastructure development projects underway together will provide a positive environment for bringing in more investments into the state.

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