Punjab has been the new favourite destination for the corporate world, as it has managed to ink 117 agreements with both domestic and overseas companies with a total investment of Rs 65,000 crore at the Progressive Punjab Summit in Mohali. With around 21 industry giants signing MoUs including Reliance, Bharti Airtel, ITC Group, Hinduja Group among others, to invest in different sectors in Punjab. “In last two days (of Punjab summit), we have Memorandum of Commitment. Chief Minister (Parkash Singh Badal) has coined a new word Memorandum of Commitment (MoC)…, “ state’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said during the Progressive Punjab Summit.
Large investments have been announced in the real estate, IT, telecom, food processing and healthcare sectors. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal urged the investor to stick to their promises. “A promise breaker is a shoe maker, is all that I can say,” he said addressing the corporate world. The agreements to script Punjab’s tale of transformation from agricultural-orientated state to industrial-driven state, were inked at the two-day event, which got underway on a mega scale on the campus of Indian School of Business in Mohali.
The Summit also witnessed the biggest news of Reliance and Airtel coming together to bring 4G services to the state. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, announced an investment of Rs 2,500 crore, while Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, also promised to invest Rs 4,000 crore in optic fibre network and 4G services.
Talking about infrastructure sector, DLF Limited has signed an MoU to invest Rs 9,000 crore, whereas, steel king L N Mittal has come into an agreement to set up Rs 2,300-crore project in the petro-chemical sector. The Hinduja Group would also invest Rs 2,000 crore with potential of providing employment to 5,000 youths in the state.
Punjab has also witnessed a huge amount of investments in the healthcare sector as Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited inked agreement to invest 2,150 crore while Fortis Healthcare Limited has announced to invest Rs 1,100 crore.
Kamal Oswal of Nahar Group promised an investment of Rs 1,700 crore, while Rajinder Gupta of Trident group inked an agreement of Rs 1,500 crore. Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs agreed to invest Rs 1,200 crore. While other companies like Digital Magic, International Tractors and Khanna Papers inked an agreement to invest 1,000, 500 and 500 crore each during the Summit.
ITC Group, Infosys, Kirloskar, Cargil, Tata Group, Mahindra and GMR also signed MoUs to invest in Punjab. Other top brands in India and aboard also evinced keen interest in exploring Punjab’s market with Sukhbir giving a presentation on, first-time in the country package of fiscal incentives for industrial promotion-2013 to all segments of industry.
The Progressive Punjab Summit also registered a success in building international relations as a Taiwanese delegation, led by CTCI vice-chairman John H Lun and Taiwan India Business Association (TIBA), not only invited Punjabi entrepreneurs to invest in Taiwan, but also sought better trade ties between businessmen from the two sides. Lun later told in a statement that he was so impressed with Punjab that he would shift the TIBA representative office to Punjab, where his company would set up a project for generating electricity from garbage.
Apart from witnessing the investment of Rs 65,000 crore, the two-day Progressive Punjab Summit projected Punjab as a healthy state for exploring new business opportunities by the corporate world. Many of the corporate honchos acknowledged Deputy Chief Minister as a master economist with a clarity of vision to take the state to new heights.
Sukhbir Singh Badal was highly satisfied with the success of the Summit and said that he wants Punjab’s image to shift from just being a food grains state to an industrialised state. He also added that the government is open to new ideas and innovations to boost up the industrial growth in Punjab. He also announced that the Summit 2014 would take place in Ludhiana.
“When I look back at our decision to hold this summit three months back, (I remember) people were stunned. Our partners at CII reconfirmed if the summit was to take place in 2013 or 2014. And I told them that it would be in December. Here we are,” Sukhbir Singh Badal told a packed hall at Indian School of Business in Mohali.
“But first we did our job— to set the house in order. We introduced a single-window clearance system. We opened a new fancy bureau of investment and appointed an IAS officer as its CEO. We introduced a new industrial policy with VAT retention of up to 50 per cent, retention, exemption of stamp duty and so on,” he added further.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was present during the valedictory address, congratulated the Deputy Chief Minister for pulling off the event successfully. Badal, in his speech, coined an impromptu slogan for the industrialisation in Punjab. “Like an athlete of this soil, the state should be known as ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’,” he said. “And to Sukhbir, I’ll say ‘carry on jatta’,” he quipped as his audience roared in laughter.
By Uday India Bureau