6 years on, UT industrial policy remains a non-starter
Six years have passed since the UT administration notified the Chandigarh Industrial Policy, 2015 — which was considered as the panacea for city’s industry problems — but it still largely remains only on paper.
The policy assured to boost ease of doing business, ease of transfer of property, promoting city’s industry at national and international levels, development of infrastructure in the industrial area, and a preferential procurement policy for the city’s industry.
Industry was allotted dedicated sectors — industrial area phases 1 and 2 in the original city plan. But it took another 60 years for an industrial policy to come up. Phases 1 and 2 have 1,884 plots spread over 150 acres.
“In the last five years, the number of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) decreased by nearly 35% and industrial workforce shrank by around 20%. Nearly 40% space in the twin industrial areas is lying vacant,” said Naveen Manglani, president, Chambers of Chandigarh Industry.
Ease of doing business
On top of the policy assurances was facilitating ‘ease of doing business’ by creating a robust single-window system, and a common application form compatible with the electronic platform.
Manglani, said, “For setting up a new industry or expanding an established one, one has to run pillar to post in the city. There are multiple government agencies from which one needs to get permissions and approvals. There is also no set time for granting these. It is high time an effective single-window system gets introduced in the city.”
Ease of transfer of property
With nearly 75% of the industrial area allotted on the leasehold basis, the policy assured facilitating clear title of land to the allottees.
“Allowing transfer of leasehold of property to freehold property and even to leasehold property is pending for so many years even though the policy assured it,” said Arun Mahajan, secretary, Industries Association of Chandigarh.
Industrialists complaint that the leasehold property has created obstacles in getting loans for industry expansion.
“When the property title is not clear, banks are not keen in lending money. Lots of properties have been transferred on general power of attorney, which is now not being recognised by the UT administration that further complicates the property rights. There is also an issue of exorbitant charge of unearned profit in transfer of leasehold to leasehold,” Mahajan added.
Promoting the industry at the national and international levels is also an important feature of the policy, which only remains on paper.
Similarly, a preferential procurement policy was to be formulated for city industry so that they could get preference when the administration make procurements.
“A centre of excellence was to be set up, time-bound schedule for clearance of investor application was assured, and marketing assistance was to be given. Industry is still waiting for it,” Siddharth Gupta, a city-based entrepreneur, said.
UT adviser Manoj Parida, said, “Central government’s policy on industry is being strictly followed. In UT, single window is available for all departments, including industry. There are certain policy decisions, like land use, which require ministry of home affairs’ approval. All other incentives by central government like MSME, finance, loan and mortgage are being given. If industry associations have some proposals, they are welcome for discussions.”
Promised, but not delivered