Punjab’s new industrial growth policy

      The Punjab Government has announced a new industrial policy, which provides concessions to attract investment to the state and also lays emphasis on promoting industrial growth, tourism and many other sectors. The policy includes suggestions by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and is meant to attract potential investors in the private sector and through Public-Private Partnership mode. It also focuses on reviving sick industries through One Time Settlement Scheme and provides a mechanism for debt restructuring and aims at providing special impetus to IT/ ITES, agro and knowledge-based industries. “We have created a dedicated fund to the tune of Rs.150 crores, if the group of companies wants to set up their common city centers and clusters. So, the State Government will contribute its share and similarly for the IT industry, we will provide 24-hour power supply and for the agro-based industry there are number of concessions in regard to capital subsidy,” said Manoranjan Kalia, Industries and Commerce Minister of Punjab . The concessions given to IT/ITES industry include exemption from stamp duty and registration fee for land transfer/allotted by Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation Limited. Also, as per the policy IT units can be set up in residential, commercial, institutional, industrial or agriculture use zone notified under the Master Plan. Punjab Government is also keen to promote agro industries in the State. The policy has made provision of interest subsidy at 5 per cent for 5 years on the interest on term loan subject to ceiling of 40,000 dollars per year per unit to agro-industrial units and agri-infrastructure projects. It also focuses on environmental reforms by giving more laboratories approval by Punjab Pollution Control Board for testing samples. “As far as pollution is concerned, now we have divided the industry in three categories. From green and red previously, we have added an orange category to it. The companies, which are not 100 percent green and are up to 65 polluted, are to be kept in orange category,” Manoranjan Kalia said. “Also, we have given a lot of concession on VAT (value added tax) to businessmen and industrialists. The VAT refund has been changed from 90 days to 60 days,” he added. Identifying the State’s potential in tourism, the new industrial policy has given -hotels, resorts, health sports and heritage hotels- the status of industry. “Recently, Punjab has obtained Rs 2.3 crore for the year 2009-10 from Centre for the overall development of various projects such as Punjab Luxury Train, Fort Gobindgarh and Heritage village in Amritsar,” said Prakash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister.

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