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Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times
CHANDIGARH, September 20, 2013
Come October 1, a "Marketing Punjab" drive will be launched by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in India as well as abroad in a determined bid to reverse the current sluggish industrial growth and give a fillip to the sagging economy. The initiative, to be launched from Bengaluru, during which road shows will also be organised in Taiwan and South Korea, is the brainchild of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is (in)famous for his "think big and dream big" penchant and failure to meet deadlines of his "dream projects." The investment-attracting campaign will culminate with a two-day Investor Summit here on December 10.

Top government sources said more than 150 top-notch industrialists, captains of sectors such as information technology, food processing, automobile, textile, allied engineering, bio-technology and life sciences were being invited from across the country for the deputy CM's "Marketing Punjab" interaction session in Bengaluru on October 1.

There will also be a panel discussion, for which special requests have been communicated to S Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, executive vice-chairman of Infosys; MM Murugappan, chairman of Tube Investments of India Ltd; Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited; and Sanjay Reddy, vice-chairman of GVK Power and Infrastructure.

"Health and biosciences have been identified as among the key focus areas by the Punjab government. Punjab offers attractive opportunities for health and biosciences companies to invest in the state and its new industrial policy aims at incentivising the growth of this sector," reads Sukhbir's letter being sent to key industrialists. "The other focus areas of the state are information technology (IT) and ITES (information technology-enabled services), manufacturing (hardware and electronics, textile and light engineering), agro and food processing."

Accompanying the deputy CM in Bengaluru will be food minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon; industry minister Anil Joshi; chief secretary Rakesh Singh and a battery of other senior IAS officers.

The road shows will be held in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ludhiana in October as part of the strategy to attract investors. Among Sukhbir's "Marketing Punjab" points will be that Punjab is among the leading states in terms of per capita income, "rapid strides in strengthening infrastructure, including availability of power and investor-friendly environment."

"The state offers a unique blend of highly skilled manpower, best in infrastructure and a new set of industrial promotion policies," says the deputy CM's letter to industrialists.

Government sources said a high-level delegation of senior officers would visit Taiwan on a four-day visit, beginning from October 7, to hold road shows and meetings with industrialists. "The deputy CM is likely to visit South Korea as part of his initiative to create a buzz and attract industrialists towards Punjab," a senior government functionary said.