Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab interacted with the leading Agro processing players from across the country and unveiled the key features of the upcoming Agro & Food Processing Policy of Punjab including a special package of incentives for fixed capital investment ranging from Rs.1 crore to above Rs.100 crore.
Announcing this at a focused session on Agro and Food Processing Policy for Punjab organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), aimed as part of its endeavour to enhance ease of doing business in Punjab, boost agro processing sector and attract investments in the state, he said that Punjab would provide 80% VAT (Value Added Tax) and 75 per cent CST (Central Sales Tax) exemptions for 10 years for all projects with fixed capital investment ranging from Rs. 01 crore to Rs. 25 crore. He said similarly 85% VAT and 80 % CST exemption would be given for investment from Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 100 crore. Mega projects with investment of Rs. 100 crore or above will invite 90% and 85% VAT and CST exemption, he added.
Mr Sukhbir Badal while addressing a galaxy of leading CII Agro members also announced that property tax exemption of 100 percent would be also provided for investment up to Rs. 100 crore and the mega projects with an investment of Rs. 100 crore or above would be exempted from property tax for twelve years.
Among the other slew of benefits announced by the Deputy CM was exemption from stamp duty on purchase or lease of land for three years and exemption from Mandi Fee, Rural Development Fund and Infrastructure Development cess.
Giving further details, Mr. Badal informed that no VAT would be charged on branded Atta, Suji, Maida and Dalia manufactured by units purchasing wheat from within the state and no VAT would be charged for preserving food products including horticulture, milk and meat purely for enhancing shelf life. The government would also provide subsidy on waxing, grading, cold-storage, packing and freight, ranging from 25 to 50 percent.
The Deputy CM said his government was taking concrete steps to ensure farmers were able to market their agro products effectively. He said the government would promote Private Market Yards in the state by making amendments in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act. He assured the industrialists that a concerted drive would be launched to make the farming community aware about the benefits of direct marketing and contract farming.
While inviting the CII Agri & processing members to come and set up their units in Punjab, the Dy CM said that “ I assure you of all possible support and cooperation in setting your units in the state and would ensure ease of operations”.
He also shared the key initiatives that his government has taken both in terms of improving the Physical infrastructure and as also removing the Policy & bureaucratic bottlenecks which is resulting in an overall enabling business environment in state.
Mr Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary – Industries & Commerce, Government of Punjab made a brief presentation on the incentives & provisions being offered for the Agro & Food processing sector in the upcoming Industrial & Investment policy of Punjab.
Mr Akshay Bector, Chairman, CII NR Committee on Food & Agriculture lauded the state Government for its business like approach and wisdom which he remarked was well reflected in the slew of incentives & measures that the new policy promises.
He stressed on the fact that each investment made by the Government in the food processing will ultimately help in improving the livelihood of the farmers besides making a significant improvement towards the state GDP.
While lauding the forward looking policy of the Punjab Government and the intent of reducing bureaucratic hurdles for the Industry, Mr Jayant Davar, Chairman, CII, Northern Region highlighted the need of setting up world class Training / skill & educational centers respectively for the Agro & Food processing sector. The growth of the food processing sector to a large extent will be determined by the availability of trained manpower.
Mr Davar also reteriated the need for projecting North as a preferred destination whether for Investments or Tourism etc. calling for integrated approach, he added that“ While states do need to compete which each other, there are areas where collaboration between the states ( like Infrastructure, connectivity) can benefit the region as a whole”.