Web Desk- Harsimranjit Kaur
Chandigarh, 14 October (Ozi Indian Bureau)- Ridiculing the Aam Adami Party (AAP) convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for making false promises with the industrialists in a run-up to the State Assembly Polls 2022, the Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday said that he was befooling them with tall claims based on blatant lies.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said that Kejriwal has promised 24×7 electricity supply in the state if his party is voted to power in the forthcoming assembly polls. Channi said probably Kejriwal was unaware that Punjab government is already giving electricity supply around the clock except for maintenance and unforeseen situations.
Countering Kejriwal’s claim to put an end to Inspector Raj, the Chief Minister said that his government has already abolished Inspector Raj across the state. As many as 17589 joint inspections have been conducted in last four and half years through Central Inspection System. Likewise, steps including computerized random selection of establishment & officer for inspection with prior notice to industry, joint inspection of department of Labour, Boilers, Legal, Metrology and Punjab Pollution Control Board, online uploading of inspection report within 48 hours and risk-based inspections of industrial units have been initiated to facilitate the industry.
Wooing the industrialists with this irresponsible and unfounded utterances regarding the VAT refund within 3-6 months, the Chief Minister said that VAT refunds of nearly Rs. 1700 crore have already been released to the industrialists in the state during last three years and only a sum of Rs.70 crore is pending as on this September end.
Pointing out further, the Chief Minister said that the number of mobile wings have been reduced from 14 to 7, which are now being manned by the best and efficient officers of the Excise department. Resultantly, more than 95% detained vehicle result in tax and penalty as department is working on smart enforcement so as to spare genuine registered tax payers from any harassment.
Replying to Kejriwal’s another illusionary promise to resolve all problems related to infrastructure within 1-2 years, the Chief Minister said that his government has always laid special emphasis on maintenance and upgradation works in the Industrial Focal Points. He said PSIEC has spent nearly Rs.95 crore during the past four and half years to provide concrete roads, revival of water supply line, street lights, sewerage disposal etc to ensure congenial atmosphere for the promotion of industry in the state. Apart from this, approximately Rs. 108 crore has also been spent for the development of new Focal Points i.e. Hi Tech Cycle Valley, Dhanansu, Ludhiana and Nabha.
On the issue of industry enhancement work, Channi said no maintenance charges have been imposed on plot holders. He mentioned that the state government through PSIEC has developed 45 Industrial Focal Points in different parts of the State and allotted plots of varying sizes to the entrepreneurs for setting up their project(s). Development estimate of a particular area/focal point generally encompasses provision of maintenance charges for five years from the date of completion of development works. Subsequent thereto, maintenance of focal points is required to be transferred to the Department of Local Government. The Chief Minister further said whereas, practically maintenance works of the focal points are carried out by PSIEC from its own resources for years together. Even, in most of the cases, maintenance works are undertaken by PSIEC consistently and areas have not been transferred to local jurisdictional authorities after expiry of decades of setting up of the focal point. For carrying out these maintenance and up-gradation works, no charges are levied on the industrial plot holders and amount incurred thereof is borne by PSIEC from its own kitty.
Referring to the claim made by Kejriwal for abolition of ‘Hafta system/Gunda Tax’ if voted to power in state, the Chief Minister said that no such system exists in Punjab. In support of his argument, Channi said his government has already taken initiatives to prevent cartelization by abolishing Truck Unions, which has been commended by the industry.
Opposing Kejriwal’s another claim to work in mode of Industry-Govt. partnership, Channi said Punjab has a very liberal and industry-friendly Industrial & Business Development Policy (IBDP-2017) which has been widely appreciated by the industry. Under the Industrial & Business Development Policy, 2017, a Punjab Industrial & Business Development Board headed by the Chief Minister has been constituted. Under this policy, District Scrutiny Committee, District Level Committee and State Level Committee have been constituted for approval of regulatory and fiscal cases. All these committees have representatives from Industry including CII, PHDCCI etc.
Besides, the Punjab Large Industry Development Board and Punjab Medium Industry Board have been constituted having members from Industry and MSEFC (Micro and Small Enterprise facilitation councils) constituted to deal with delayed payment under MSME Act which is also having Industry stakeholders as members and Punjab is the only state with all the districts having MSEFCs. All these initiatives taken by the Punjab government speak volumes of its commitment to partnering in the growth of state’s industry.
Contradicting the claim of AAP convenor to ensure the atmosphere of peace and harmony, the Chief Minister said Punjab already enjoys peaceful Labour Relations as there is no major strike has been witnessed in last three decades and absolutely there is no domicile restrictions in hiring the labour. He also cited that Punjab has one of the lowest rates of cognizable crime amongst major industrial states. Punjab’s rate of cognizable crime is 243.1 whereas Delhi’s rate of cognizable crime is 1586.1 as per National Crime Records Bureau report for 2019. (Crime Rate is calculated as Crimes per One lakh of population)
Terming Kejriwal as an opportunist, Channi said such ill conceived and politically motivated moves would not help AAP convenor to capture electoral ground in Punjab as he is not even remotely concerned with the development of state and welfare of its people being an outsider and was solely eying on the vote bank of one or another section. He said Kejriwal was sadly mistaken and daydreaming thus misleading the people by promising them the moon but the wise people of Punjab would eventually show him the door.
Meanwhile, the Industries & Commerce Minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli also countered Kejriwal’s claim to boost MSME sector saying that the state government has already notified Right to Business Act, 2020 for fast-track setting up of New MSME units besides setting up Micro, Small Facilitation Council in all the districts to resolve issues of delayed payment of MSMEs. Under Micro Small Enterprises-Cluster Development Program of GoI, Kotli said seven proposals have already been approved by GoI to enhance competitiveness of MSMEs. Punjab has been selected as one of the pilot projects under RAMP Project of World Bank. The focus of the program is to strengthen the state’s initiatives to implement various policies for MSMEs.
Pointing out further, the Industries Minister said Make in Punjab Policy gives preference in public procurement to goods manufactured in Punjab. Local MSMEs can match their bid price with L1 for 50% quantity of tender, 40% local content to be ensured by L1. The Industrial & Business Development Policy, 2017 provides very attractive fiscal incentives and various other incentives such as assistance for Finance, Technology upgradation, Marketing access etc. to the new and existing MSMEs of Punjab.