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Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today envisioned Punjab as the most favored investment destination not in the country but across the globe which was reflective of investors’ confidence who inked as many as 376 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the state government of over Rs 1,12,000 crore (nearly 17 billion US $), having employment potential of 2.50 lakh jobs, during the second edition of Progressive Punjab Investors’ Summit 2015. 

In his keynote address during the summit well attended by galaxy of business tycoons and captains of the industry from country as well as from abroad at the Indian School of Business (ISB) here today, the Chief Minister said that the credit of success of first such summit held in December 2013 and now the present one goes to Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, who always believes in"Think Big and Achieve Big, as he had worked relentlessly for making the current summit a grand success. He said that Punjab was the best state in the country from investment point of view as it was credited with best infra structure facilities, excellent road, rail and air connectivity, flawless telecommunication network and above all ease of doing business here, as acknowledged by World Bank, due to single officer mechanism in Invest Punjab, first of its kind in the country to give all the clearances/ sanctions to prospective investors from 23 odd departments within a record period of just one month. Mr. Badal especia
lly welcomed the delegates from Poland, China, Hungry and South Korea and companies from USA, UK, France, Italy, Singapore, who have come all the way to participate in this Summit.

Highly confident of attracting huge investments in Punjab, the Chief Minister said that the state government had already sincerely offered to the prospective entrepreneurs by way of giving them a liberal package of incentives and fiscal concessions and now it was there turn to set up their ventures in the state. He reiterated his commitment to further resolve any issue related to accelerate the tempo of industrialization in the state as his government was ever ready to offer red carpet welcome to the industry to ensure overall development of the state and prosperity of its people. Soliciting whole hearted support and cooperation from the Business honchos, Mr. Badal said “To put Punjab on industrial map of the country in a big way I offer a ‘blank cheque’ to all of you in terms of attractive incentives and concessions to facilitate you for making huge investments in the state”.

Sharing his concern for swift industrialization in the state, the Chief Minister bemoaned despite the state offering such lucrative concessions the country’s leading industrialists were still shying away to make investments here and emphasized the need to change this mind set. Without mincing any words, Mr. Badal said that if the hard working and sincere Punjabis could do miracles in making our country self reliant in food production and safeguarding its border from the external aggression for which it has rightly earned the epitaph of country’s “food bowl” and “sword arm” respectively how could they let your investments go in vain. He said, “Have trust and confidence in us and I am sure that your decision to invest in Punjab will never go wrong and together we will certainly script a new success story of unprecedented development in the state”.

Ruing the decision of previous Central Government to extend fiscal incentives and concessions to the neighborly states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu& Kashmir, the Chief Minister said he was not personally against giving such concessions to these states but excluding Punjab, despite of its huge contribution towards country’s economic growth, was not only unfair but also unjustifiable. He said that this decision has proved to be a major setback to our existing local industry, which also fled to these states to avail these concessions. Mr. Badal exhorted the industrialists to help the state in this hour of crisis when our predominantly agrarian economy had already reached a plateau and it was now high time for a paradigm shift from agriculture to industry especially agro-based industry, which would get a new lease of life with the today’s announcement to do away with VAT, CST and other taxes on Agro Processing Industry.

Calling upon the industrialists to help the state in setting up of Skill centres across the state, the Chief Minister said that this initiative would be beneficial to provide a pool of skilled labour to industry on one hand besides making the youngsters to earn their livelihood, on the other. He said that the state government has already initiated the process of establishing Integrated Multi Skill centres in the varied field of manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and allied farming activities and others to enable the unemployed youth to be gainfully employed.

Earlier, in his power point presentation, Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said Punjab was known as a producer of foodgrains but he felt that it should also be able to add value to its produce. “Keeping this in view and with the intention of making Punjab a hub for agro processing industry, I have decided to waive all input taxes of agro processing industry. He said this included VAT, CST and purchase tax. Mr. Badal also announced that Punjab would be the first State in the country to have 4G connectivity in the entire State with every village, rural school and hospital being covered under this facility by January next year.

The Deputy Chief Minister, while acknowledging the huge response the Investment Summit has received with representatives pouring in from nine countries with Poland even being represented by a ministerial delegation, disclosed the State had established a conversion rate of 60 per cent on the MoUs signed during the last summit in 2013. He said Punjab had received an investment of Rs 41,187 crore against MoUs worth Rs 63,000 signed in 2013.

Speaking on the occasion Industry Minister Mr. Madan Mohan Mittal listed the pro-industry initiatives taken by the state government and hoped that this endeavor would further continue to propel industrialization in the state. He said that Punjab was fast emerging as a major industrial destination in the country as there was a tremendous scope for further expansion of industry in manufacturing, textile, agro-processing and automotives. 

Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Cabinet Ministers Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, Dr. Daljeet Singh Cheema, Mr. Gulzar Singh Ranike, Mr. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Mr. Sohan Singh Thandal, Advisor to Chief Minister on National Affairs and Media Mr. Harcharan Bains, Lok Sabha MP Jathedar Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rajya Sabha Members Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Mr. Naresh Gujral, Chief Secretary Mr. Sarvesh Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretaries Mr. Karan Avtar Singh, Mr. Suresh Kumar, Mr. NS Kalsi and Mr. Jagpal Singh Sandhu, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Gaggandip Singh Brar and CEO Invest Punjab Mr. Anirudh Tiwari.

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