Farming on the wane, Punjab must change with times: Capt Amarinder | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Farming on the wane, Punjab must change with times: Capt Amarinder

Pointing out that Punjab is behind the national growth rate of 7%, the CM called for focusing on industry. “Punjab has the competence, the atmosphere… Our problem is opportunity,” he said.

punjab Updated: Mar 08, 2018 20:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mohali
Punjab,Amarinder,Farming
Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh addressing a gathering of entrepreneurs at TiECon-18 at Indian School of Business on Thursday.(Keshav Singh/HT)

“We are an open house. We will be at your service.” Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh reiterated that his government is serious about the need to reinvent Punjab’s economy to curb unemployment, and he is ready to give all entrepreneurial efforts a boost.

Addressing a gathering of entrepreneurs at TiECon-18 at Indian School of Business on Thursday, he also cited the reason for this shift. There was a time when India had to go around with a begging bowl for food, he said. “Punjab with 2% of India’s population produced 50% of national foodgrains.”

Things have changed, other states have developed, and Punjab’s grains are not required any longer to that degree. “Rice we don’t require at all,” he said. His statement comes close on the heels of Niti Ayog’s strong message to Punjab, asking it to set its house in order and not worry about national food security any longer.

Pointing out that Punjab is behind the national growth rate of 7%, he called for focusing on industry. “Punjab has the competence, the atmosphere… Our problem is opportunity,” he said.

Earlier, ISB dean Rajendra Srivastava, recounting the growth of Austin, Texas (US), into a world-class tech hub, said what Punjab needs is a confluence of educational institutes, private sector and government for the big push.

Speaking in the same vein, TiE chairman IS Paul pointed out that the region has substantial human capital in its universities, and TiE, a non-profit body with over 240 members in the region, is ready to help with financial capital. It is for the state government to provide the right ecosystem, he said. “We should focus on one technology and specialise in it. Entrepreneurship is the best guarantee for jobs.”

Agreeing with him, the CM said there are 9 million underemployed or unemployed young people in the state. “The world is changing, industry is changing, everything is becoming electronic; we have to keep pace.”

Later, TiE Chandigarh chapter president Alok Ramsisaria declared, “For the first time we are hearing a CM say ‘we are there for you’.”

Social incubator to launch 50 entrepreneurs

Invest Punjab (or Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion) signed a memorandum of understanding with Param Singh, the Australia-based founder of UDAY and Project Mooo, for setting up a social incubator for profit-with-purpose enterprises, in the presence of CM Capt Amarinder during the conclave on Thursday.

To start with, the two partners will set up incubators at Mohali and Amritsar. Param Singh said they will encourage and fund entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture, soil health, water, education and rural development. “Our aim is to fund and mentor 50 entrepreneurs in the next two years. Imagine the cascade effect it will have on employment,” Param said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 20:54 IST