The Punjab government has decided to roll out a red carpet along with a slew of incentives to attract top 23 industrial tycoons to invest in the state by assuring a conducive business environment.
In what is being dubbed as a determined bid of the Parkash Singh Badal government to accelerate industrial growth, chief secretary Rakesh Singh on April 17 approved the policy decision of officially establishing contact with industrialists urging them to "look towards Punjab", a top government functionary said.
Punjab leads in manufacturing machines, auto parts, hand tools and produces bicycles, sports goods and leads in hosiery items. But in the past one decade, the industrial growth of the state has been alarmingly sluggish for which successive governments have blamed the flight of the industry to neighbouring states due to tax holidays the Centre had given.
In its second consecutive term, the focus of the Badal government is to consolidate its political position by giving priority to industrial growth.
The government has decided that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who has been selling the development agenda of the SAD-BJP government to the hilt, will make a passionate appeal to 23 industrialists such as HW Park of Hyundai Motors, Shinzo Nakanishi of Maruti Suzuki; Kumar Mangalam Birla; Wipro's billionaire chairman Azim Premji; and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, to invest in Punjab.
Top government sources said that principal secretary (industries) AR Talwar and chief secretary Rakesh Singh have finalised the draft of the letter to be sent under the seal and signature of the deputy chief minister.
The government will assure the industrialists that their proposals will get utmost importance and that a special package of incentives will be granted under the policy of mega projects to provide a level playing field vis-a-vis other progressive states.
The deputy chief minister will assure the industrialists of a hassle-free environment for investment in the state, urging them to visit Punjab to discuss modalities with the special task force constituted for this purpose.
"This will be a kind of open invitation for industrialists for setting up car and other big manufacturing units," a senior government functionary said.
To sell Punjab as a preferred investment destination, the deputy CM's invitation letter will talk about good air connectivity, better roads, technically qualified manpower and "excellent power availability".
The government will drive across the point that the infrastructure availability in Punjab "is the best in the country" which is being further "improved to bring it on par with international standards".