- Allotment of liquor vends is proposed to be done through draw of lots.
- The rate of application has been fixed at Rs.30,000/- (including GST, if any).
- The number of liquor vends to remain at last year level i.e. 5750 approx.
- The groups shall largely remain the same as last year i.e. around Rs.5-Rs.6 crores and will only increase to the extent of increase in the levies during 2019-20.
- The number of groups shall also remain the same as last year i.e. 700 (approx.)
- Taking into account the consumption patterns during 2018-19, the quota of PML (Country Liquor) has been increased from 5.78 crore PLs to 6.36 crores PLs (+10%), of IMFL from 2.48 crore PL to 2.62 crores PLs (+6%) and of Beer from 2.57 crore BLs to 3.00 crore BL (+16%) under the Minimum Guaranteed Quota. Apart from this, an Addl.Fixed License Fee has been introduced. Against this fee, the licensee can lift and sell the liquor of his choice.
- Each license will be granted on a Minimum Guaranteed revenue basis which will consist of fixed license fee, additional fixed license fee and excise duties/levies chargeable on minimum guaranteed quota. The licensee will be liable to pay such minimum guaranteed revenue even if he does not lift the quota allocated to his license. Settlement will be on monthly basis.
- The fixed license fee will be chargeable at the time of grant of license. The fixed license fee will be fixed by the Collector-cum-DETC depending upon the quota of the group and the financial potential of the group.
- The rates of Excise Duty on retail for PML, IMFL and Beer has been retained at last year level i.e. Rs.324/- per PL, Rs.355/- per PL and Rs.55/- per BL respectively. Similarly, Excise Duty on wholesale stage for PML has been retained @ Rs.35/- per PL and on Beer Rs.62/- per BL for strong beer and Rs.57/- for light beer. On IMFL liquor, Excise Duty ranging from Rs.90/- to Rs.420/- has been charged depending upon the EDP of the brand.
- Excise Incidence on all kinds of liquor has been suitably fixed so as to secure Govt. revenue and also keeping in view that the market prices do not rise.
- The licensee can interchange upto 5% of his quota from PML to IMFL and from IMFL to PML, as per requirement. Similarly, he can also get converted 10% quota of PML to IMFL, subject to certain conditions.
- The ratio of Fixed: Open Quota of PML shall remain the same at 30:70.
- All L-2 licensees have been made eligible for grant of L-1 license and it will be a pre-requisite to have L-2 license in the district where L-1license is sought.
- The license fee of wholesale license of IMFL (L-1) has been rationalized. Now, there will be fixed fee of Rs.25 lacs against previous year fee of Rs.50 lacs and a variable fee of Rs.3/- per PL on IMFL and Rs.2/- per BL on Beer on the purchase of liquor by them.
- Unsold stock of 2018-19 will be carried forward in 2019-20 at a nominal fee.
- Retail licensee will charge only upto minimum retail prices of liquor for the functions to be held in marriage palaces/banquet halls.
- Bottling fee @ Rs. 1/- per BL has been introduced. This will generate a revenue of Rs. 30 Crores. This amount will be allocated by the Finance Department for the purpose of alcohol de-addiction.
- Special license fee equal to Rs.5/-per PL on PML and IMFL sold in Urban areas has been continued this year also, which shall be utilized for maintenance and upkeep of Gaushalas. This is in lieu of the Cow Cess. Similarly, for Rural areas, special license fee @ Rs.5/- per PL levied on PML and IMFL. This amount is to be utilized for the welfare of livestock, agriculture, Health and Swachh Abhiyan in Rural Areas.
- Till now, the distilleries/bottling plants/breweries were required to get their labels approved every year, even if there is no significant change in the label. Now, they will be required to get their labels approved, in case there is any change.
- On the pattern of Uttar Pradesh, the Brands of Liquor manufactured by Bottling Plants outside the State, will be registered in the State of Punjab, only after they met the criteria of annual turnover of business income not less than Rs.100 crores; the production capacity of such bottling plant should not be less than 5 lakh cases; and the bottling unit should have its business in atleast three States with minimum one crore population.
- For ease of doing business, 5-Star or higher category hotels have been allowed to serve liquor round the clock in their Bars.
- A new license shall be granted for sale of IMFL at the Airports. This licensee shall sell the liquor with EDP more than Rs.2500/- only. The license will be granted to person or organization which has received the requisite permission from the concerned Authority of the Airport.
- To open up the BIO trade and to make available all the brands, a new license (license L-1BB) has been introduced. This license shall be issued only to the Custom Bonded Ware House holder in Punjab or Brand Owning Companies.
- The department is expected to collect Rs.5450 crores approx. during the year 2018-19 from Excise, as against the collections of Rs.5136 crores during the year 2017-18. Further, the department expects to collect a revenue of Rs.6200 crores during the year 2019-20.
- If any licensee during the financial year 2019-20 gives 12% excess revenue over the fixed minimum guaranteed revenue for his group/zone shall be eligible for renewal in the financial year 2020-21, subject to the conditions to be specified by the Government later on.
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh & US Envoy Juster hail the project as major step towards future collaborations
Giving a major fillip to its efforts to check stubble burning and boost the renewable energy sector, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virgo Corporation for a ₹630 crore Biofuel project, for which technology will be provided by the US giant Honeywell.
Virgo will use the technology to extract bio jet fuel from rice husk to set up a Rapid Thermal Processing plant, which will provide over 150 direct and 500 indirect jobs.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and US Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster. Virgo’s MD Kanav Monga was present on the occasion. The project would pave the way for potential future collaborations in terms of investments, technology transfer etc. between Punjab and the US.
The Chief Minister said the project would go a long way in containing the environmental pollution due to stubble burning, besides supplementing the income of farmers by helping turn the unmanageable agro-waste into raw material for producing bio fuel. He pointed out that every paddy season, the state generates nearly 20 million metric tonnes of paddy straw, which would be scientifically utilized for manufacturing bio fuel.
Captain Amarinder Singh hailed the project as a landmark that would be instrumental in generating renewable energy, besides solving the state’s stubble burning issue. With the shift towards renewable energy, Punjab would also augment its power generation capacity with a commitment for a cleaner future, he added. Besides incentivizing the farmers to sell their crop stubble in lieu of burning it, the project would support the government’s requirements for national bio-fuel blending targets as well as important air quality initiatives, such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), said the Chief Minister.
Reiterating his firm commitment towards environmental sustainable development goal and facilitating projects of similar nature in Punjab, the Chief Minister said that Invest Punjab had been proactively working to steer similar projects. He pointed out that German company Verbio had got initial site clearances for setting up a BioCNG facility, while GoI Navratna HPCL got land & was in process of obtaining site clearances for setting up of Bioethanol facility. Further, land has been allotted to Indian corporate giant Mahindra & Mahindra for setting up of a Bio CNG facility in the state.
US Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster said that the project for which the MoU had been signed was of critical importance as it demonstrated how collaboration towards a common vision could bring sustainable solutions and positive change. When companies and governments are willing to come together, share resources and expertise, and develop new and innovative approaches, the potential benefits to the society can be truly phenomenal, he added.
Notably, the MoU was the outcome of concentrated efforts from Invest Punjab, the Government of Punjab and the US Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS). Matchmaking from US Embassy’s FCS allowed for the identification of a specific US technology to transform left-over crop stubble from Punjab’s rice paddies into bio-fuel and the effective partnership from both governments connected the US and Indian business partners. Virgo Corporation and US technology partner Honeywell had signed a MoU in December 2018, to develop the project after initial introductions by the US Embassy FCS team & Invest Punjab.
Prominent amongst others present on the occasion were Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Advisor Investment Promotion Major B.S. Kohli, ACS Investment Promotion Vini Mahajan, CEO Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion Rajat Agarwal and representatives from Virgo Corporation and Honeywell, including Kanwal Monga, Mike Bannach, Col. Channa and Dharmesh Mahajan.
Self-cleaning toilets, interactive 3D textbooks, smart device for speech impaired and bindis that can provide nutrition to pregnant women steal the show
15 winners who emerged from the 523 ideas that had been submitted in varied fields such as social sector, IT/Digital marketing/E-commerce, health and wellness, agriculture and manufacturing today felicitated by PWD and Information Technology Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla and Minister of Industries & Commerce Mr. Sunder Sham Arora during Grand Finale of the Startup India Punjab Yatra organised at the Indian School of Business, Mohali.
The program saw winners from across all age groups coming up with innovative ideas like self-cleaning toilets; interactive 3D textbooks; a smart device for giving a voice to speech impaired individuals; and bindis that can provide nutrition to pregnant women.
The event was also attended by home grown startup stalwarts like Mr. Samar Singla, CEO & Founder, Jugnoo and Ms. Priyanka Gill, CEO & Founder, Popxo. Samar interacted with the participating students and shared his views on the importance of utilizing the resources the state has to offer. Further he mentioned that the key to Punjab’s growth are Punjabis and it is through their effort that Punjab can start a new revolution for startups in India. Star woman entrepreneur, Priyanka spoke about her journey from a small village near Abohar in Punjab to establishing India’s largest digital community for women. She spoke about the key ingredients in any entrepreneur’s journey i.e. education, having faith, being resilient and not taking no for an answer.
The month long Startup India Punjab Yatra was flagged off by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 16th January 2019. In order to scout promising entrepreneurs across the state, the Startup India Mobile Van travelled to 19 locations to spread awareness and to capture innovative ideas.
In addition, 8 Bootcamps followed by pitching sessions were conducted at eminent educational institutes in the State. At all these locations, the organizers were met with great enthusiasm and it was heartening to see the youth’s unrelenting passion and determination to translate their innovative ideas into reality.
5000 budding entrepreneurs utilized the Yatra platform to showcase their ideas to key Startup ecosystem players. The 118 best ideas and solutions that surfaced through the Yatra were shortlisted and provided with acceleration support to propel their Startup journey.
The objective of this Yatra was to identify a community of change makers in the State who have the potential to become the next big startup unicorns and make Punjab a hub for Innovative Growth. He added that the State aims to provide Startups with the necessary academic networking and funding opportunities, along with supporting Startups throughout their lifecycle, from an idea to a prototype to a successful Startup.
ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋ ਏਸ਼ੀਅਨ ਡਿਵੈਲਪਮੈਂਟ ਬੈਂਕ ਦੇ ਸਹਿਯੋਗ ਨਾਲ 1200 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਖਰਚ ਕਰ ਕੇ ਰਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਿਆਰ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ। ਜਿਸ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ 150 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਖਰਚ ਕਰਕੇ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਅੰਤਰਰਾਸ਼ਟਰੀ ਪੱਧਰ ‘ਤੇ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਦੇ ਸਥਾਨ ਵਜੋਂ ਉਭਾਰਿਆ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ।
ਸੈਰ-ਸਪਾਟਾ, ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਅਤੇ ਸਥਾਨਕ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਹਿਤ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਵਜੋਂ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਮਾਹਿਰਾਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਕ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਿਆਰ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਕਿ ਵਾਤਾਵਰਣ ਅਤੇ ਪੰਛੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀਆਂ ਲਈ ਖਿੱਚ ਦਾ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਬਣੇਗੀ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟਾ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਥੇ 10 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਦੀ ਲਾਗਤ ਨਾਲ ਸੂਚਨਾ ਸੈਂਟਰ, ਬਰਡ ਵਾਚ ਟਾਵਰ, ਪੰਛੀਆਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਰੱਖਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਨਿਗਰਾਨੀ ਟਾਵਰ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਕੰਟੀਨ ਤੇ ਪਾਰਕਿੰਗ ਆਦਿ ਬਣਾਏ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।
ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈੱਟਲੈਂਡ ਵਿਖੇ ਹਰ ਸਾਲ ਵੱਡੀ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਸੀ ਪੰਛੀ ਆਉਂਦੇ ਹਨ, ਇਸ ਸਾਲ ਇਥੇ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਲੱਗਭੱਗ 1 ਲੱਖ 25 ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਪੰਛੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਆਮਦ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਬਹੁਤ ਜਲਦੀ ਹੀ ਸੈਲਾਨੀਆਂ ਲਈ ਈ ਰਿਕਸ਼ਾ, ਸਾਈਕਲ ਅਤੇ ਬੋਟਿੰਗ ਆਦਿ ਸਹੂਲਤਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਰ ਸਹੂਲਤਾਂ ਵੀ ਮੁਹੱਈਆ ਕਰਵਾਈਆਂ ਜਾਣਗੀਆਂ।
ਉਨਾਂ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਵਿਖੇ ਜੰਗਲੀ ਜੜ੍ਹੀ ਬੂਟੀ ਨੂੰ ਹਟਾ ਕੇ ਵਾਟਰ ਲਿੱਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਕਮਲ ਆਦਿ ਦੇ ਬੂਟੇ ਲਗਾਏ ਜਾਣਗੇ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਰਮਸਰ ਗਾਈਡਲਾਈਨ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਨੰਬਰ ਦੀ ਰਮਸਰ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਦਾ ਦਰਜਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।
ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਰਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ, ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ, ਮੈਡੀਕਲ, ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਤੇ ਈਕੋ ਟੂਰੀਜ਼ਮ ਨੂੰ ਬੜ੍ਹਾਵਾ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਉਪਰਾਲੇ ਕੀਤੇ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਜਲਗਾਹ ਨੂੰ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਵਜੋਂ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ 6 ਮਹੀਨਿਆਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਕੰਮ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ ਅਤੇ 3 ਸਾਲ ਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰਨ ਦਾ ਟੀਚਾ ਮਿੱਥਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।
Also promises to look at all aspects before taking any decision on farm debt waiver
Giving a major fillip to the state’s persistent efforts for securing waiver of the Rs. 31,000 crore Food Account, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, NK Singh said the issue could not be brushed under the carpet, and formed a committee to find ways of settling the matter.
The Commission would do everything in its powers to help the state get rid of this legacy problem, Singh assured Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, while wrapping up discussions with the Punjab government. Singh said the committee under the Finance Commission, with the Centre, the State and FCI, would explore all possibilities, given its terms of reference and constitutional propriety, to settle the festering problem.
The Chairman also assured the Chief Minister of all possible support to revive Punjab’s fiscal health, while promising to look into all aspects of debt waiver to help the state’s distressed farmers. The Commission would take a holistic view of the state’s fiscal situation in taking a decision on farm debt waiver, he said, while also underscoring the Commission’s commitment to ensure balanced socio economic development in the state, which was facing a critical challenge in terms of poor financial health.
The Chairman lauded the Chief Minister for abolishing truck unions, which he termed a Herculean task for any politician. He urged the state to play a leadership role in making food procurement process more efficient and sustainable, to make it a role model to be replicated by other states.
Intervening in the discussion, the Chief Minister lamented that FCI was not pitching in the procurement operations in the state, whose godowns were full, leaving no space for storing the next crop. FCI had not picked up wheat in the state for the past 3-4 years, he pointed out. What will Punjab do with the marketable surplus in this kind of situation, Captain Amarinder Singh asked, seeking the Centre’s support to resolve the issue. Punjab Principal Secretary Food and Supplies KAP Sinha clarified on certain structural issues, including supply of gunny bags.
Responding to a query raised by the Chairman regarding the CCL Term loan, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh highlighted the structural issues being faced by the state government in procurement of paddy and wheat. He also requested the Commission to take a ringside view of the situation to find an enduring solution, which complements the state’s macro and micro level financial position. The Chief Secretary also enunciated the measures being taken by the state government to check the menace of stubble burning, which had led to a perceptible decline in the environmental hazard.
Expressing concern over the depleting ground water, the Commission asked the state to intensify its efforts to motivate farmers to opt for crop diversification.
Exhorting Punjab to become a pacesetter in providing suitable jobs to its youth in the changed scenario, as the jobs of today might not exist in the future, the Commission Chairman stressed the need for the state to reorient its academic curriculum to blend it with skill development and vocational training. Underlining the importance of such a blend in making the youth employable, he said this was particularly important in the current contest as the syllabus being taught today could be absolutely irrelevant due to the radical transformation being witnessed in the human resource development arena at the global level.
Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi demanded a special grant of Rs 500 Crores for various skill development initiatives including the setting up of a Skill University.
Taking part in the deliberations, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said the state government was making concerted efforts to make Panchayati Raj Institutions economically viable.
Health Minister Brahm Mohindra said the state government had strengthened the healthcare network by recruiting requisite medical and paramedical staff. Salary of medical officers had been hiked from Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000 per month and of specialists from Rs 40,000 to 70,000 per month, he said, adding that this had ensured their regular presence in the government hospitals and civil dispensaries, especially in rural areas. He demanded additional funds to further strengthen the government medical set-up in Punjab.
Additional Chief Secretary Health Satish Chandra urged the Commission to grant more PG seats in state government colleges to tide over the shortage of specialists in the government hospitals across the state.
- Asks 15th Finance Commission for one-time debt relief for farmers
- Urges greater share with centre in devolution, funds for solving water & drugs problems
Underscoring the tight financial situation faced by the state, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh sought from the 15th Finance Commission a Special Debt Relief Package to support his government’s efforts to revive fiscal health, along with a one-time package to enable payment of the entire debt of the distressed farmers of Punjab.
At a meeting of the 15th Finance Commission here, the Chief Minister noted with concern the permanent loss of revenue suffered by the state post GST implementation, whose compensation from the Centre will also end from July 1, 2022, resulting in a drastic fall in revenue in the range of Rs. 10,000-12,000 crore per annum. In view of the loss, the Chief Minister urged the Commission to recommend a graded compensation tapering formula to the Government of India for states like Punjab beyond June 30, 2022, so that they do not simply ‘fall off the cliff’.
Highlighting the special problems of the state, with its highest SC population in percentage terms, its long and thickly populated border with Pakistan, its riverine and sub-mountainous areas and flight of industry due to concessions to neighbouring states, Captain Amarinder Singh shared his government’s wish list with the Commission, underlining the need for a special package for Punjab, citing the various roadblocks to its development despite his government’s numerous programmes and persistent efforts.
The Chief Minister, while submitting a formal memorandum to the Commission, pointed out that Punjab had the highest Interest Payments to Total Revenue Receipts ratio and Outstanding Debt to GSDP ratio amongst the GCS. The package, he said, could be provided under the General Debt Relief Scheme, linking it to the fiscal performance of the states as previously done by successive Finance Commissions.
With a debt of Rs. 2.10 lakh crore, which his government had inherited from the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, Punjab was a revenue deficit state, the Chief Minister noted, adding that the last Finance Commission had omitted the state from revenue deficit grant states, though it was included by the 12th Finance Commission.
Even as he listed out Punjab’s strengths as a land of the brave and the food bowl of the nation, the Chief Minister said the internal security threat arising out of a hostile neighbour and threat of spillover of J&K militancy, along with the problem of drugs further made the state a fit case for a special package.
On the issue of agricultural debt relief, while his government had already announced a package of Rs. 8000 crores for over 10 lakh small & marginal farming households, there was need for a comprehensive package and assistance from the Centre, said Captain Amarinder Singh, urging for a one-time debt waiver to help out the farming community. Further, to give relief to the farmers, promote agriculture diversification and realize Government of India’s vision of doubling of the farm income, he requested the Commission to provide for deficiency price support in maize and cane production to the extent of Rs. 12,350 crore and Rs. 300 crore, in order to give a boost to the allied activities in the farm sector.
Referring to the Rs. 31,000 crore Food Account which the Akali government had taken over in its last days, the Chief Minister said the Government of India should take over the debt or Punjab should be given matching revenue deficit grant to offset the committed annual interest payment liability of Rs. 3240 crores.
Mooting increase in devolution to states to allow greater flexibility to use devolved funds qua relevant Centrally sponsored schemes, the Chief Minister also sought an increase in Punjab’s share in devolution from 1.5% to 2%, noting that the same had been reduced from 2.45% to 1.57% in the last 40 years. He suggested addition of certain new elements within the existing parameters like SC/ST to facilitate equitable distribution of resources among the states.
The Chief Minister also requested the Commission to consider the contribution of the State to the nation’s economy while distributing the resources amongst the states by giving a weightage of 10% to contribution by the State economy in the aggregate GSDP. In order to encourage and incentivize sustainable development, he also proposed a weightage of 1% to Renewable Energy Source (RES) Power Generation, as a supplement to the already existing parameter of Forest Cover and redefining the composite parameter as ‘Sustainability Index’.
Expressing grave concern about the critical water situation in the state, Captain Amarinder Singh sought a Rs. 12000 crore grant for complete water cycle management in both rural and urban areas. On its part, his government was making considerable efforts to resolve the problem and had recently signed an MoU with Israel’s National Water Agency Mekorot, he pointed out. A pilot project of Direct Benefit Transfer of Electricity (DBTE) for agriculture consumers under the banner of “Paani Bachao Paise Kamao” scheme had been initiated with the intent of saving ground water and motivating farmers to cultivate diversified crops. The Government of Punjab had also initiated a programme to provide piped potable drinking water to every household in rural areas by December, 2019, he informed the Commission.
In line with the commitment of the State for sustainable development, he also asked the Commission to provide a financial assistance of Rs. 500 crore for river cleaning programme, and Rs. 3,682 crore for ground water improvement by river augmentation through afforestation.
Referring to the problem of drug abuse, which he said was directly attributable to the location of the State, the Chief Minister said Punjab shared its borders with Pakistan, which itself was well-connected with one of world’s largest opium-producing regions that enable narcotics to enter Punjab more easily than other parts of India. He brought to the Commission’s notice that the drug epidemic in Punjab also had strong correlation with rising unemployment among the youth. Punjab has a high youth unemployment rate at 16.60% compared to the national average of 10.20% due to slowdown in agricultural productivity, lack of industrialization, mismatch between educational qualifications, etc. He requested the Commission to provide Rs. 300 crore for expansion and strengthening of OOAT clinics to rehabilitate patients of drug abuse,
Captain Amarinder Singh further urged the Commission to provide support of Rs. 5,500 crore and Rs. 6,719 crore to its power infra and road infra, respectively, which the State had created majorly from its own resources, much ahead of the others, and was now neither getting the capital grant nor the maintenance expenditure for same under the various Central Government schemes. He also sought Rs. 100 crore for strengthening the cancer infrastructure and Rs. 505 crore for providing sewerage facilities in the villages on periphery of our towns.
The Chief Minister told the Commission that despite the financial crunch, his government was making the best of efforts to boost development and improve the quality of living on all fronts. Punjab was the second best performing large state in terms of Health as per the Health Index 2018, and had achieved 100% rural electrification way back in 1976 and every town and village stands electrified, with one of the lowest Transmission & Distribution Losses (T&D) in the country, he noted. What is more, the state is ranked 2nd in the country in terms of road connectivity and our rail density is better than the national average. It ranked 2nd in Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Index, on account of our excellent performance on various parameters, namely, infrastructure, service, timeliness, safety & tracking and competitive pricing.
The State led the country in abolishing the practices of affidavit in citizen services as also shunning the VIP culture by abolishing the red beacon culture, much ahead of others, the Chief Minister noted. His government had, in the last two years, signed 305 MOUs with an investment potential of Rs 42,905 crore and an employment potential of about 1 Lakh in the last 20 months, he further disclosed. To ensure transparency and accountability, his government had also enacted the Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Services (including electronic service delivery) Act in 2018 with an objective to provide citizen/ centric services to its people in digital mode in next three years.
The Chief Minister said he was saddened by the fact that the necessary development expenditure in Punjab has starved for want of funds against the backdrop of lack of adequate support from the Centre and the already stressed financial position of the State. He requested the Commission to pay special attention to the financial position of the State so that it comes out of the clutches of the vicious debt trap and work with utmost sincerity and integrity towards realizing its vision of a prosperous Punjab and prosperous India.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal raised objections to the industrial concessions given to the neighbouring states, asserting that the central government had no right to destabilize industrial set-up in any state by offering concessions to neighbouring states.
The Finance Commission was represented by Chairman N.K. Singh, Chairman, along with members Dr. Anoop Singh, Dr. Ashok Lahiri and Dr. Ramesh Chand, as well as Arvind Mehta, Secretary to the Commission and other officers of the Commission.
The state government was represented, besides the Chief Minister, by Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi, OP Soni, and senior officers.
- Finance Minister speaks at multiple sessions on Global issues
- Apprises about conducive business environment in Punjab and investment opportunities
A high level delegation from Punjab led by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has pushed the investment agenda through high-level meetings with Global industry leaders participating in World Economic Forum at Davos. Notably, the Additional Chief Secretary Industries and Commerce Vini Mahajan and CEO Invest Punjab Rajat Agarwal were also a part of Punjab Government’s delegation.
On third day, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal spoke at multiple sessions on Global issues. He also participated two panel discussions on mobility. As part of session on “Building a Clean Mobility Future”, Badal called upon requirement for collaboration across multiple industries and value chains to secure clean environment for future generations.
As part of the session on “Global Road Safety Initiative and Road Safety Partnership for India”, he explained the correlation between economic condition and road accidents by citing the fact that 90% of road accidents happen in countries with low income levels.
Punjab delegation met several business leaders at sidelines of events. Business leaders were apprised about conducive business environment in Punjab and investment opportunities that exist across IT, automobiles including e-vehicles, renewable energy and food processing sectors.
The delegation had fruitful meetings with Global Business leaders including Chris Johnson from Nestle (Executive VP &CEO Zone Asia, Oceania and Sub Saharan Africa), Dirk Delmartino from Naspers (VP Corporate Affairs and Public Policy), Nishant Arya from JBM Group (Executive Director) and Bhawin Shah (Strategy) & Nitin Mittal (VP- Corporate Finance) from Avaada.
Nestle has strong existing presence in Punjab. Nestle forayed into India in 1961 with manufacturing facility at Moga (Punjab). Meeting with Nestle focused on expansion plans and new opportunities around raw material procurement, dip production plant and manufacturing facility related to pet food segment across the State.
To promote the inherent strength which Punjab offers in mobility and clean energy sector, the delegation met JBM group and Avaada. Discussions with JBM were focused around policy initiatives to provide best ecosystem to e-vehicle and auto component manufacturers across the State. Nishant Arya was also apprised of investment opportunities in Ludhiana and other parts of the Punjab. Considering Avaada has expertise in executing complex Solar &Wind projects, opportunities to collaborate in new and ongoing renewable energy projects was discussed.
Naspers is one of the leading technology investors across the Globe. Brainstorming session with Mr. Dirk was focused on Information technology ecosystem in the State and investment opportunities in upcoming IT City Mohali.
Over the last two remaining days of WEF, the Punjab delegation shall continue to leverage the WEF platform to engage in one-on-one meetings with global business leaders and shall also be sharing its views and thoughts on topics of worldwide relevance.