Industrialists in the region have termed the state budget presented by finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa 'hollow & directionless' and have claimed that have been ignored by the government.
“We were expecting allocation of at least Rs. 400 crore for the development of existing focal points and the industrial area. However, we were provided nothing and there has also been no relief from VAT,” said Narinder Singh Saggu, president Focal Point Association of the the city, told Hindustan Times.
He said that a government concerned with the industry would have announced subsidy on the expansion of existing industrial units, which were arbitrarily stopped in 1996. The announcement of setting up exhibition grounds for the display of industrial goods was useless, he claimed.
Khel Udyog Sangh president Ravinder Dhir said that although the industry and trade generated maximum revenue for the state, but their concerns were simply never even discussed.
“The sports goods industry was expecting abolition of VAT on the lines of Uttar Pradesh, which has brought Meerut to the fore. However, here too we are disappointed as even this genuine demand has not been met.”
“If the situation continues, majority of the sports goods manufacturers will have no option than to close or shift their ventures to Uttar Pradesh.”
Federation of Jalandhar Industry and Trade Associations president Gursharan Singh claimed that the budget was hollow and said that the industry must ready itself for tough times, as the SAD-BJP government did not have any vision for industrial growth.
“What can any industrialist or trader expect from a government, which has failed to pay VAT refund to eligible traders for over a year now,” Singh said. He claimed that the government was over-burdening the urban area at the cost of extending subsidy to rural folk, keeping in mind the vote politics.
“Punjab is a land-locked state and is competing with J&K and Himchal Pradesh for industrial growth and investment. These states provide special tax benefits. The least the government could have done was provide freight subsidy for industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has welcomed the budget. Co-Convener of CII, Punjab.
Kamna Raj Aggarwalla, said that the government's decision to provide Rs. 152 crore and Rs. 200 crore for upgrade of higher & technical education, respectively. She added that the step will bridge the industry-academia skill gap.
“The decision to set up exhibition & convention centres in Mohali, Amritsar and Ludhiana will help in showcasing and marketing the state's products.”
She also lauded the government's plan to generate 1,500 MW of power through renewable sources of energy such as biomass, municipal waste and byproducts of sugar mills & distilleries.