A tongue-in-cheek advertisement inserted by the spinning yarn industry of Punjab in various newspapers to highlight the ‘failure’ of the SAD-BJP government to protect it from uneven competition from the neighbouring states has sent the senior leadership of the alliance in a tizzy.
The advertisement issued by Punjab Spinners Association (PSA) on the front pages of English national dailies says, “Punjab government, we thank you for encouraging Punjab industrialists to invest Rs 10,000 crore in Madhya Pradesh.
For creating highest stressed assets in spinning in Punjab. The estimated revenue loss of Punjab government for the year 2015-16 is Rs 1,500 crore, by way of VAT exemption to the yarn coming from outside the state. The new industry policy related to spinning not implemented yet.”
So perturbed was the office of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal that it immediately sent a message to the PSA to discontinue the advertisement campaign as it had led to huge embarrassment to the government.
Sources said that of 130 spinning mills in the state around half had already shut down.
State industry and commerce minister Madan Mohan Mittal said the grievances of the spinning industry were genuine and must be addressed at the earliest. “My information is that Sukhbir Badal has taken a serious view of this and would soon take a decision to provide a level-playing field to the state industry,” Mittal said, adding that the decision might come by Friday.
PSA president MM Vyas, in whose name the advertisements were released, told Hindustan Times that the industry was forced to issue the sarcastic message publicly to shame the state government after it had failed to meet their demands.
“We have been pleading our case with the government since July last year that the state yarn spinning mills have been competing with the neighbouring states on uneven grounds, so they should provide the industry some protection,” said Vyas.
According to Vyas, the neighbouring states impose no VAT on the spinning yarn mills whereas the Punjab government imposes 6.6% VAT on them. Besides, Punjab also levies 10% surcharge on the mills. When the yarn is brought into Punjab from the neighbouring state, the carriers have to pay just 2% central sales tax.
It is learnt that Sukhbir had agreed to put 8% entry tax on the spinning yarn coming from the neighbouring states to make it even for the Punjab industry, but finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa had asked Sukhbir to review the decision.
Vyas said, “All officials, including principal secretary to deputy chief minister, Ajay Mahajan, principal secretary, industry and commerce, DP Reddy, and commissioner, excise and taxation, Anurag Verma, kept ensuring us that the government would provide us some relief but nothing happened.”
PSA members said officials of the excise and taxation department kept sending them notices to pay the property tax on the units located outside the municipal limits where the government had provided no basic amenities.
“Even the buses that transport workers to the mills are being charged commercial rates by the government,” the members said, wondering if it was an industry-friendly gesture by the state government. email@example.com