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Punjab govt to roll out fiscal sops for industry after 7-month wait

Notification likely in June 34 separate schemes have been readied with notification for fiscal incentives and guidelines expected once cabinet gives nod in its May 30 meeting

punjab Updated: May 23, 2018 11:36 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab,Punjab industries,MSMEs
The department has proposed separate schemes for interest subsidy for the MSMEs.(HT File)

After a wait of seven months, the Capt Amarinder Singh government in Punjab is preparing to roll out fiscal incentives, including the reimbursement of state goods and services tax (SGST) and exemption from electricity duty and change of land use charges, for the state industry next month.

The industries department, which made provision for a slew of incentives for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), start-ups and large units in its Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017, has framed 34 separate schemes with operational guidelines, including eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, manner of processing the applications, performance-linked disbursal and other modalities, followings discussions and industry associations.

The notification for fiscal incentives and guidelines is expected next month after a nod from the state council of ministers since there are financial implications on the account of tax exemptions, reimbursements and subsidies. The cabinet is expected to meet on May 30.

“There have been a series of meetings with industry representatives. We will notify the schemes for incentives and other support measures at the earliest after taking all the mandatory approvals,” principal secretary, industry and commerce, Rakesh Kumar Verma, adding, “The quantum of benefit to industry is being worked out.”

The department has proposed separate schemes for interest subsidy for the MSMEs, assistance for technology acquisition, exemption from payment of stamp duty, incentives for start-ups, capital subsidy to information technology (IT) and IT-enabled service units, employment generation subsidy to ‘anchor units’, grant-in-aid for critical infrastructure development and grant of special relief package for sick industrial units.

Mandatory registration on portal

While it has decided to set up a ‘business first portal’ for sanction and disbursement of fiscal incentives, all industrial units seeking incentives for setting up a new unit or expand an existing unit would be required to mandatorily register on the department’s portal, said an industries department official. Separate scrutiny and sanction committees are proposed to be set up at district and state levels.

“In case it is found at any stage that a unit has claimed any fiscal incentive on the basis of wrong facts, then it, besides refunding the amount of incentive with compound rate of interest at the rate of 12% per annum and facing legal action, will be debarred from grant of any further incentive. The government can also recover the same as arrears of land revenue under Punjab Land Revenue Act,” according to the draft operational guidelines for availing fiscal incentives.

The Industrial and Business Development Policy- 2017, which lays equal emphasis on expansion and modernisation and new investments, was notified on October 17 last year after the cabinet approval. While the government implemented its promise of power at ₹5-a-unit power in January this year after initial hiccups, industry has been anxiously waiting for months for incentives, both fiscal and non-fiscal, to become a reality.

“These fiscal incentives are critical for growth and revival of industry in the state, but the wait is getting longer. The framework for incentives should have been finalised much faster, preferably before February. The state government should not delay it further,” said PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) co-chairman RS Sachdeva.

First Published: May 23, 2018 11:31 IST