Asserting that the state had failed to avail the benefits of the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),eminent economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia on Monday said Punjabs economic performance was abysmal when compared to other states and the national average on economic growth.
Punjab has failed to utilise the benefits of JNNRUM as for a long time,the state did not meet the basic precondition of urban reforms,development of infrastructure,which is necessary for JNNRUM funding, she said while delivering a lecture during the convocation programme of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) held at CI institute at Shahpur near Jalandhar on Monday.
She added that the Centre was working on a revamped JNNRUM for urban development and urged Punjab to seize the opportunity by bridging the infrastructure deficit and improving urbanisation in state by strengthening sewerage systems and storm water drains,among others.
Ahluwalia also pointed out that of late,the Indian economy has encountered two major challenges: lack of urbanisation and skill development.
She said Punjab had been aware of such challenges but as agriculture productivity stagnated,the states industry and service sector did not step up. The gap between Indian and Punjab growth only widened. Ironically from being number one state in country in per capita income in 1990,Punjab slipped to 5 th rank in 2007-08,she said. Punjab seems to be lowering its ambition for economic growth and has been setting low targets like 5.9 per cent, she added.
The economist said the state has failed to take advantage of new industrial opportunities while the existing industry chose to expand outside the state. Even FDI in automotive and autoparts went to states in the south and west,she added. To make up for the lost time,Ahluwalia said the government must invest in its cities and improve infrastructure,public transport,among others.
She also said Punjab ranked the worst in the country,when it comes to deterioration of natural resources as the state has exploited the highest percentage of underground water.