The Punjab cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday took several important decisions, including grant of approval to the new industrial policy for the state. Here are the key highlights of the new policy.

CHIEF MINISTER’S OFFICE, PUNJAB

CABINET OKAYS INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT POLICY 2017

PAVES WAY FOR FIXING OF INDUSTRIAL POWER TARIFF AT RS 5/UNIT FROM NOV 1

PROVIDES FOR ONE-TIME LOAN SETTLEMENT FOR INDUSTRIES, MOVE TO MOP UP RS 100 CR

Chandigarh, October 16: In order to boost industrialization and revive economic activity in the state, the Punjab Cabinet today approved the new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017, paving the way for fixing of industrial power tariff at Rs 5 per unit w.e.f November 1 and a one-time settlement of industrial loans.

A Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, put its stamp of approval on various important salient features of the policy, including provision of fixed tariff for five years to the existing and new industries.

Besides providing for incentives for expansion, modernization and upgradation of existing units at par with new units, the new policy envisages a one-time settlement for industries against loans taken from the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd. (PAIC).

According to an official spokesperson, the One Time Settlement (OTS) Policy, 2017, would help in releasing the blocked industrial investments and assets to put the same into productive use so as to revive the existing industries in Punjab. It will also result in reducing the burden of litigation of these Corporations and generate revenues for their developmental activities.

Power Minister Rana Gurjit abstained from discussion on the one-time settlement of loans as his company would also benefit from the move, said the spokesperson.

The Cabinet also gave approval to amend qualification and experience for appointment as CMDs and Directors of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL).

Giving details of the new industrial policy, the spokesperson said industrial infrastructure development is also high on the priority agenda under the provisions, which provide for development of border districts, extreme border zone and Kandi areas. The Chief Minister, at the cabinet meeting, proposed hiking the incentives for existing industry in border areas from 125% to 140%.

The new policy, formulated by the Department of Industries and Commerce as per the mandate given to it at the first cabinet meeting of the Captain Amarinder government on March 17, has been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders, including Industrial Associations and the Departments concerned. It is centered on the `Business First’ philosophy, with a single-window approach to provide simplified and easy clearances and approvals at every stage.

Aimed at promoting ease of business, the new industrial policy is founded on the eight strategic pillars of Infrastructure, Power, MSME, Startup and Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Ease of Doing Business, Fiscal & Non-Fiscal Incentives, Stakeholder Engagement & Policy Implementation Unit and Sector Specific Strategies.

Strongly focused on the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), it seeks to facilitate implementation of various central and state government policies for the development and growth of MSME units. It envisages establishment of 10 technology centers, 10 common facility centers and 10 clusters for development in first phase. Besides, the State would set up MSME Facilitation Councils under MSME Act 2006 at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, SAS Nagar and Patiala to provide remedial measures to Micro and Small units for delayed payments by Medium and Large industries.

Single window facility to existing industries/MSMEs at the District Level and special relief for sick MSME units are other important features. The latter will involve deferment of recovery of arrears of Electricity Duty, Power Bills, House Tax and Water Charges for a period of five years. These units shall also be exempted from minimum charges for electric connection during closure period and incentive of exemption from electricity duty for two years shall also be provided.

The state would also provide One Time special relief package for BIFR registered/declared sick Large units by reimbursement of 75% of net VAT/net SGST for a period of five years for border district and 50% of net VAT/net SGST for a period of five years of other districts and deferment of recovery of arrears of Electricity Duty, Power Bills, House Tax and Water Charges for a period of five years. These units shall also be exempted from minimum charges for electric connection during closure period and incentive of exemption from electricity duty for three years shall also be provided.

Upgradation of PSIEC as a statutory authority, with all industrial estates to be maintained by it, is another highlight of the policy. Development of 14 new industrial parks and standardisation of all estate management policies and procedures have also been provided for in the industry. It also provides for establishment of exhibition and convention centres in Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar in the first phase.

The policy provides various incentives such as investment subsidy by way of reimbursement of net SGST, exemption from electricity duty, property tax and other incentives. MSME units have been given more incentives than large industries, including access to finance, access to infrastructure, access to market, access to technology, access to facilitation.

Additional fiscal incentives have been given to industrial units in the thrust sectors across Manufacturing and Service industries. While the manufacturing thrust sectors include E-vehicle, Medical Equipment, Apparel, Footwear, Electronics, Food Processing Industries, Aerospace and Defence, and Biotechnology, among others, the Service Industry thrust sectors identified by the government are IT and ITES, Life Sciences, Skill Development Centers, Healthcare, Tourism & Hospitality, Media and Entertainment, as well as Logistics.

Other highlights of the policy include creation of Rs 100 crore fund to promote start-up culture in the state, besides establishment of a Skills University and industry specific skill development centers. All skill training schemes will be brought under one agency namely Punjab Skill Development Mission.

To promote stakeholder engagement and governance mechanism, it is proposed to set up Punjab Industrial and Business Development Board under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and comprising of other relevant Ministers, Chief Secretary and other Administrative Secretaries.

Specific strategies will be formulated for specific sectors to address their respective problems and promote their growth.