Sri Anandpur Sahib, January 10 : Giving a clarion call to the Punjabi Diaspora settled across the globe, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today sought their whole hearted cooperation and support to transform the state’s economy to emerge it as a frontrunner state in the world.
Addressing a massive gathering of Non Resident Punjabis (NRPs) converged here in the auditorium of Viraasat-e-Khalsa on the two days Pravasi Punjabi Sammellan, the Chief Minister said that Punjabis irrespective of caste, colour, creed and their geographical location have proved their mettle in every aspect of life by the grace and blessings of Almighty. He said that probably Punjabi community was the only in the world which could undertake any daunting task by the dint of their hard work, sincerity and commitment. Mr. Badal applauded the Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Sungh Badal and NRIs Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia for successfully fulfilling all the promises made with the NRIs during the last Sammellan.
The Chief Minister said that though Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal’s vision to put Punjab in the high growth trajectory in terms of superb infra structure, surplus in power, excellent education and Healthcare facilities, which he had already deliberated in details during his power point presentation has been well taken by the delegates, but he missed to mention all this had been feasible due to congenial atmosphere of communal harmony, peace and amity prevailing in the state. He said though Punjab was compared in terms of development with several progressive states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and others but the fact that these states had never undergone agony of turmoil and economic backwardness due to partition of country, division of joint Punjab on linguistic lines and subsequently decade long militancy, which completely shattered our economy adding he congratulated the brave Punjabis for reposing unflinching trust in the ethos of democracy besides cementing the bonds of brotherhood, peace and mutual tolerance. Mr. Badal said, “This unique phenomenon of peaceful atmosphere led Punjab to hasten the process of overall growth and development in the state”.
Striking an emotional chord, the Chief Minister urged the NRI brethren to contribute enormously in the promotion of education and healthcare services besides strengthening economic and social ties, which was all the more important for our future generations, which were gradually being detached from their roots. He appealed the NRIs to prevail upon their progeny might be of second or third generations to frequently visit Punjab and they were duty bound to keep them abreast with our rich cultural and ethnic legacy. Mr. Badal said that their government has constructed several memorials like Virasat-e-Khalsa, Small and Big Holocaust and Baba Banda Singh War Memorial to perpetuate the glorious cultural heritage of state adding that a number of others like that of Baba Jiwan Singh, Guru Ravidass Ji, Bhagwan Valmiki Ji, Baba Moti Ram Mehra and others were in pipeline.
The Chief Minister said that this sammellan should not be construed as a ‘formal get together’ rather it should be utilized as a Healthy platform for serious deliberations to translate ideas/ proposals into actions and envisaged the cooperation of experts in the field of education and healthcare to crystallize several schemes and projects in these core sectors, where not only local Punjabi youth rather the NRP youngsters could be attracted. He said that he was eagerly looking forward for a day when the majority of NRP especially the youth settled abroad voluntary chose to make Punjab as their abode of dreams and for this our government was fully committed to cherish their aspirations for making their living as comfortable and pleasant as abroad. Mr. Badal said that he was confident that once this process of ‘reverse immigration’ begins then it would not only halt the emerging trend of brain drain especially amongst the youth, who were passionate to go abroad in search of green pastures but would also contribute significantly in motivating the NRP disenchanted youth with their soil of forefather’s origin. To achieve this objective he exhorted the NRPs to play a proactive role to sensitize their children about the strong socio-cultural bonds.
The Chief Minister also agreed to the proposal put forth by the majority of NRP delegates to set up International Punjabi Chamber of Commerce and Trade in their respective countries for promoting bilateral trade ties with the state.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal while showcasing Punjab with facts as most progressing state of the nation, impressed upon Punjabi Diaspora to become active partners in the ongoing unprecedented development of Punjab by making investments, adopting villages and cities besides contributing in the area of social welfare. He ridiculed the false propaganda of opposition regarding fiscal position of state in his detailed fact based presentation and apprised the Diaspora that Punjab was a most favoured investment destination, progressive and actually a rich-state and they should be aware of these facts to showcase it globally. He also asserted that during the progressive summit more than 117 MOUs were signed with business honchos fetching investment of Rs 65,000 crore in the state.
Presenting details Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal also informed the MPs, Ministers, MLAs, Mayors, Councilors and other prominent Non Resident Punjabis landed from all six continents that Punjab was the first state in the country to respond NRIs instantly to assist them and resolving their grievances. He said that with the amendments in archaic rules and path-breaking initiatives have been implemented for the welfare of Non Resident Punjabis’ by state Government and the Punjab has become most NRIs-Friendly state in the country. Mr. Badal also called upon NRIs to take full advantage of recently launched a comprehensive web portal for NRIs and 24X7 call center to redress their grievances and get any sort of information regarding Punjab.
Giving details of reforms introduced to encourage the investments for the industry sector, the Deputy CM said that there was VAT retention, exemption of stamp duty in setting up of new industries besides establishing Punjab Industrial Promotion Bureau under his direct supervision and headed by Chief Executive Officer to provide all clearances and approvals in a single day to the industrial houses. Exhorting Punjabi Diaspora to make investments in the state, the Deputy CM said that Punjab has a great potential in IT sector, Education, Healthcare, Textile, Automobile, Agro and Food Processing sectors and the non-resident Punjabi community should become the active partner in the development of state. He said that Punjab has complete communal harmony, peace and amity was mainly responsible for overall development and prosperity in the state and urged them to make optimum use of this congenial atmosphere. He informed the Punjabi Diaspora that holy city Amritsar would witness a complete transformation in next three years with the development projects worth Rs. 2000 crore.
Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, while declaring Punjab as a power surplus state, said that the power would be available here at cheaper rates as compared to other states. Mr. Badal also informed the gathering that recently CRISIL rating of high prosperity and equality endorsed the unprecedented pace of development in state since Punjab has best infrastructure, best air connectivity having three international airports at Mohali, Amritsar and upcoming at Macchiwara besides three domestic terminals at Bathinda, Ludhiana and Pathankot. He asked the foreign media to project the path breaking initiatives taken by the state government for the well being of NRPs in order to give wide publicity so that Punjabis settled in every nook and corner of the world could be enormously benefitted from the pro-NRP policies.
Earlier NRI Affairs Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia thanked the Punjabi Diaspora for their massive participation in the event and said that a sustained awareness drive regarding separate identity of Sikhs in the world to avert attacks on Sikhs due to mistaken identity was the call of the hour. Expressing satisfaction over the decisions taken by Punjab Government to fulfill the sort out the issues of NRIs raised during last NRI Sammelan, Mr. Majithia said that most of the issues of NRIs have been resolved resulting Punjab a leading state to address the issues pertaining to NRIs. He also spoke a Punjabi lyric written by legendary lyricist Babu Singh Mann to salute the industrious, social and political achievements of Punjabis at foreign shores.
Meanwhile speakers from all countries including Mr. Tim Uppal, Minister of Multiculturaism Canada, Mr. Bal Gosal, Minister of Sport Canada, Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Member Parliament, New Zealand, Mr. Harinder Singh Takhar, former MP, Canada, Mr. Jasbir Singh Sandhu, MP Canada, Mr. Peter Sandhu, MLA Canada, Mr. Daljit Singh Dhaliwal, Advisor to Malaysian President, Mr. Ramesh Singh Arora, MLA Pakistan, Lord Diljit Singh Rana, UK, Ms. Rajni Patel, UK, Mr. Gurbax Singh Malhi, former Minister Canada hailed Punjab Deputy CM Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Minister for NRI Affairs for fulfilling the promises made with Punjabi Diaspora during last previous NRI Sammelan.