Why Punjab

Why Punjab
Why Punjab

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has recently begun ranking the Ease of Doing Business in states on a real time basis. Depending on data flow and its capture by the system, various states have jumped to the top of the ladder for a few hours or a day or two only to lose that coveted spot to some other state. Punjab hasn't yet topped the overall state rankings but many investors swear that it is one of the best states to start a business in. A large part of the credit for this has to go to Invest Punjab initiative of the government of Punjab. The Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion, as the single point contact for regulatory clearances, fiscal incentives and approvals to facilitate investors who are looking to set up businesses in Punjab, has been rated as among the most invest-friendly bodies in the country. In India, most states have concentrated their efforts at investment promotion. Only a handful - following the example of Gujarat - has focused on investment facilitation, and this is where Punjab scores over its higher ranked peers. “Remarkably, Punjab is the only state in which the single window system allows application for all of the licenses studied in this assessment,” the World Bank said in its Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms Report released in September 2015 Consider these numbers: Punjab is among the few states that grant preliminary approvals for investment proposals within 24 hours. On average it takes only 100 days from submission of proposal to the start of business in the state, making it hugely attractive for investors. What's more, one can set up the business in less than a month, said a recent report of the World Bank, which ranked it No 1 among Indian states in ease of setting up a business. The state also enjoys huge man-made and natural advantages. Being close to Delhi, it enjoys excellent air, road and rail connectivity with the rest of the country. It has five existing and/or upcoming airports at Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bathinda and Pathankot, among the highest road densities amongst Indian states at 133 km per 100 sq. km and 64,000 km of well maintained metalled roads. It also has more than 2,000 km of railway lines. Then, the state also has the fourth-highest tele-density in India and the highest rural tele-density. The government of Punjab has leveraged the advantage of a highly educated workforce, more than 300 days of bright sunlight, five large rivers and fertile soil to nurture knowledge industries like IT and healthcare, renewable energy, tourism, manufacturing, aerospace and life sciences. Punjab is known as the granary of India. Little wonder that the state government has focused special attention on the development and growth of the food processing industry. It has been estimated that almost 40 per cent India's food and vegetable production perish before they reach the market because the country lacks adequate facilities for air-conditioned storage and for processing the raw material into processed goods. Food processing will, thus, play an important role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of doubling farmers' incomes in six years. Tourism, which holds tremendous employment potential, is another sector that has bright prospects in Punjab, which is blessed with many centres of cultural and historical importance and natural beauty. But most important from the view of investors is the package of attractive benefits prepared by the state government on VAT, CST, stamp duty, electricity duty, property tax and some other levies. Once GST is implemented, the state will cede its powers to provide incentives on VAT and CST but investors will continue to enjoy the other benefits, which, being local levies will remain outside the purview of GST. Then, the state government has taken the important step of exempting some industries from regulatory checks, thus, freeing them from the clutches of the notorious Inspector Raj.

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