Punjab Govt inks MoU with Virgo Corp for bio-fuel project to check stubble burning, boost renewable energy


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.


Grand Finale of Startup India Punjab witnesses winners from all age groups coming with innovative ideas

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.

10The 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.

7The 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.

95000 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.

Punjab Cash Prize Winners

Punjab delegation pushes Investment Agenda at Davos

  • Finance Minister speaks at multiple sessions on Global issues
  • Apprises about conducive business environment in Punjab and investment opportunities

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet SIngh Badal, , ACS Industries Vini Mahajan and CEO Invest Punjab Rajat Agarwal with Dirk Delmartino from Naspers (Vice President Corporate Affairs and Public Policy)

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.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet SIngh Badal at WEF Session on “Global Road Safety Initiative and Road Safety Partnership for India”.

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.      

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet SIngh Badal and ACS Industries Vini Mahajan with Chris Johnson from Nestle (Executive VP and CEO Zone Asia, Oceania and Sub Saharan Africa)

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.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet SIngh Badal at one of the Sessions at WEF Annual Event 2019, Davas


Buoyed by the investor friendly initiatives of the state government, coupled with the incentives provided by the Industrial and Business Development Policy -2017, Invest Punjab has received 55 Common Application Forms (CAFs) with proposed investment amount worth Rs 21,536 crores and employment generation of 30,700 within just 10 days after the launch of the ‘Business First Portal’.
Out of the 55 applications, 29 have been received from Ludhiana and Mohali and the remaining from other districts across the state. As many as 44 CAFs are with an investment of more than one crore and 11 CAFs with investment of less than one crore.
On the directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, this unique initiative was taken by Invest Punjab to give further impetus to boost ease of doing business in the state. This pro-investor initiative will pave the way for further promoting industrial development in the state.
UntitledWith this initiative, the State Government will be able to ease the regulatory burden on the investors in the state. In the Business First Portal, approvals for applications of investors having more than 1 Crore Fixed Capital Investment (FCI) will be given by Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion and for applications upto Rs. 1 Crores FCI will be given at the district level.
Portal launched by Captain Amarinder Singh on November 6, as a single-window clearance resource, will provide an independent interface to investors for their industrial grievance redressal, feedback and suggestions, the state-of-the-art online facility will further help in bringing fiscal incentives to investors in a time-bound manner under the Industrial and Development Policy-2017.
The portal will also be instrumental in creating enormous job opportunities through the establishment of new industrial ventures across the state, thus propelling the government’s ambitious ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar’ scheme.
Notably, a slew of lucrative initiatives and incentives taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh’s government had already boosted business sentiment among industry, as reflected in the fact that investment of over Rs. 10,000 crores had been secured in the past 20 months, since the incumbent Government took over in March, 2017.