New micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) units in the state will not be asked for certain permissions for three years under the Punjab Right to Business Act 2019, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said Friday and announced that his government will set up a dedicated MSME marketing cell and establish a Rs 100-crore start-up fund.
“We have said for three years you do not need permissions. If you want to put up a plant tomorrow, put it up and get your clearances over three years. Nobody is going to ask you for anything,” Amarinder said while addressing a gathering on the concluding day of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit 2019 here.
The state cabinet on December 2 had decided to bring in the Punjab Right to Business Act 2019 and Punjab Right to Business Rules 2019 to reduce the regulatory compliance burden by waiving the requirement of certain approvals and inspections for establishment and operations for MSMEs in the state while introducing the provision of self-declaration.
Meanwhile, Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion CEO Rajat Aggarwal said under the Punjab Right to Business Act 2019, an industrialist could set up a MSME unit first and could apply for permissions like registration under shops and establishment act, change of land use, building plan approvals and fire related no objection certificate after three years.
Pitching Punjab as a state that offered investors a future, with the assurance of “peace and security” to protect their investments at all costs, Amarinder said his government was prepared to change its decades-old policies to transform the state from an agricultural to an industrial economy.
He listed the policy changes by the government by amending laws relating to industry, and switched over from a written text to a spontaneous address saying he wanted to “speak from the heart”.
Amarinder said the changes made in the laws and policies “were not sancrosanct” and the government led by him was prepared to make changes at any point of time as per the requirements of the investors.
Underlining the need for a much-needed change to prevent children from going out in search of greener pastures, 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 you what you want… tell me what’s needed, I will do everything that is needed (for facilitating the industry).”
The agenda of the two-day 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 investor insights from country sessions of Japan, UK, UAE and Germany.
“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,” CM 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.
No labour problems and no strikes was one of the most common sentiments that echoed during the summit. On the flip side, there were apprehension that with the change of guard the policies get changed, putting investors at the receiving end. Amarinder tried to allay this fear of industrialists.
CM said state government 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 crore till yesterday, approval to Punjab Right to Business Ordinance and creation of a State Ground Water Authority, said the Chief Minister.
The CM 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, CM 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 Rs 50,000 crore 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 per cent, which was also a direct indication of enhanced industrial activity in the state.
The CM further disclosed that his government had recently collaborated with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), ISB Mohali and Punjab Technical University to set up (soft launch of the hub was done on September 30) a Startup Punjab Hub at STPI Mohali. The new facility, spread over 1.40 lakh square feet of built up space, is one of the country’s largest incubation facility, he said, adding that under the Neuron initiative, three Centers of Excellence had been established in the hub to promote research and development across IoT, AI, Data Analytics, and Audio, Visual and Gaming.
Meanwhile, Punjab Government on Friday signed a tri-party Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre of Excellence in Microelectronics- Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Design to be established on the premises of in Mohali.
Earlier, two days ahead of the summit, Punjab government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One to conduct a pre-feasibility economic study for the project, a futuristic transport system in which passenger pods zip through vacuum tubes at high speeds.
Additional Chief Secretary Industry and Invest Punjab Vini Mahajan said the summit was not aimed at signing MoUs but for showcasing Punjab as investment destinations. “As the investments are grounded, we will brief about the same time to time,” said Vini.
(With inputs from PTI)