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While the AAP government in Punjab may have presented its first paperless budget with much fanfare on Monday, it hasn’t gone down well with the industry, by and large. Before preparing the budget, Punjab’s Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema had travelled across the state seeking suggestions from different sectors. However, the industry claimed that even though the FM took suggestions, they were hardly implemented.
Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) president Upkar Singh Ahuja said, “The industry in Punjab feels betrayed and highly disappointed, as Rs 100 crore fund allocation for industrial development is too less for industrial growth out of Rs 1,55,860 crore state budget. The industry is passing through a turbulent phase. A lot was expected from the AAP budget for the industry. But much to the industry’s dismay, neither any budgetary provisions have been made for export promotion nor any package for Halwara airport project is provided in the budget.”
The industry is moving out of Punjab at a very rapid pace and the neighbouring states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan are attracting these industries with some relevant modern-day industrial policies.
“Therefore, CICU requests the Punjab government to reconsider the budgetary provisions and provide a handsome package for the industry,” he added.
All Industries Trade Forum president Badish Jindal said, “The party, which had stated that it will end inspector raj, is now threatening us with a tax intelligence unit in its very first budget. This will increase corruption in the state. Proposed expenditure on industry has been fixed at 1.62% which is very less, whereas 65% of the expenditure is on social security in the state. Rs 100 crore for industrial growth is nothing but peanuts.” Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO) president Gurmeet Singh Kular said that this budget has absolutely nothing for the industry. He said the industry has been hit hard by the lockdowns to curb Covid-19, and it was expecting some relief package from the government, but to no avail.
Fasteners Manufacturers Associations of India president Narinder Bhamra said, “We had given a suggestion to waive off Punjab state development tax, but it’s there only on paper. If the government focuses only on freebies and not on growth of industry, how will the state grow.”
Activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira said, “Before coming to power, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, who is now the Punjab assembly speaker, used to say on record that environment was the top priority for AAP, but the government has made no mention of taking any steps to control water, air and soil pollution. We are already up in arms against a proposed textile park near Mattewara forest range, but the government did not spell out anything on it in its budget.”
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