Even more than a year after the formation of state-level advisory board for promotion of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), only one meeting was held to discuss various issues last month, pointing towards negligent attitude of the state government towards industries of Punjab.
The board was formed after a notification in March 2013 for the second time after the earlier board that was formed in March 2012 vide notification number SSI/SLAB/426 was dissolved. There were 17 members from industrial organisations from across the state and 17 members of departments related to industries.
Industrialists also accuse the state government of politicising the board by allowing ‘political elements’ into the board. They say that not even a single meeting was held when the board was first formed through a notification in 2012.
Purpose of the board is to play an advisory role to the state government for the betterment of the MSME in different districts of Punjab. Cycle, auto parts, steel, knitwear among other industries could have directly benefitted had the board members met at regular intervals.
According to the sources, convener of the board, SS Dhillon, who is the director of MSME Development Institute of government of India based in Ludhiana had sent several letters to the principal secretary of industries and commerce, who is the chairman of the board, requesting to hold a meeting. But only a single meeting was arranged last month.
Sources said that the agenda for a meeting of the board was sent to the principal secretary of industries four times but never a meeting took place in the past that resulted in disheartening of the industrialists who were members of the board.
Dhillon told Hindustan Times that only one meeting of the board last month took place for discussing the issues related to the industries in Punjab. When asked as to whether the state government was ignoring the board that holds importance for industrial development, Dhillon replied in the affirmative.
Badish Jindal national president of Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII) said that the board could hold discussion regarding lack of infrastructure for industries in Punjab. “State government has failed to hold key meetings of this advisory board at regular intervals,” said Jindal.
When the board was dissolved in March 2013, FASII had also complained to the governor of Punjab that the state level board was dissolved illegally to accommodate “some party workers”.
Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club, who was the member of the board formed in 2012, said that political colour was given to the board formed in 2013 by the state government. “Several politically affiliated persons were given entry into the board. The then industries minister Anil Joshi had made political persons as board members,” said Thapar.
Dinesh Lakra, a city-based industrialist, said that principal secretary of industries and commerce was changed sometimes ago and the present principal secretary was holding the additional charge. “Meeting would soon be convened for promotion of MSME,” he said.