Progressive Punjab Summit to boost industries: Nagra

FATEHGARH/MANDI GOBINDGARH, Nov 30: The New Industrial Policy of Punjab government has revived the industry of Steel Town Mandi Gobindagrh and the Progressive Punjab Summit-2019 being organised at ISB, SAS Nagar on December 5 and 6, will boost the industrial growth in the state.

Stating this, Advisor to the Chief Minister Kuljit Singh Nagra said that Mandi Gobindgarh has a thriving ancillary base of 500 plus small and medium scale steel manufacturing enterprises operating in the areas of steel rolling, casting and fabricating.
In the last two years, Punjab has witnessed a growth of 33 per cent in steel manufacturing operations and in the last one year, the industry has attracted new investments to the tune of Rs 600 crore.

Mr Nagra said the factors influencing the setting up of steel clusters in Mandi Gobindgarh includes abundant availability of labour at competitive prices, peaceful labour-industry relations, vast wastage recovery/internal consumption of waste, availability of financing options, 100 per cent road connectivity, as well as other strong supporting linkages.
However, this was not the case during the time of previous governments.

The factors due to which industry at Mandi Gobindgarh struggled to sustain itself, included high tax duties, expensive raw material and high power cost. More than 100 units could not sustain the increased cost and had to close down.

The state government took steps to revive the industry and continuously interacted with the steel industry players to understand the reasons of downfall and was committed to take every possible step to mend the wounded steel industry.
Steps taken by the government includes formulation of Industrial Development Policy 2017, exemption of GST, property tax, stamp duty and electricity duty to revive the old industrial units.
Regulatory reforms such as removal of the Steel industry from the ‘negative list of industries’ led to greater opportunities in terms of financial sponsorship.
Reduced power tariff (Rs five per unit) as steel is an energy intensive industry (20 per cent of total cost).
The net Income Tax collected in the financial year 2017-2018 increased phenomenally by 114 per cent, which means from Rs 77 crore to Rs 165 crore in just one year, which clearly indicates the revival of the industry.

Mr Nagra said Mandi Gobindgarh is the perfect example of how investor-focused policy alterations can build a positive investment climate and revive a fading industry.

Dinesh Gupta, MD of Prabhat Heavy Forge said, ”The steps taken by the government are very encouraging. The industry is becoming quality conscious and the companies are investing for the same. There is a positive investment climate.”