Industrial package for Himachal Pradesh extended

January 4th, 2010 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Jan 4 (IANS) The commerce ministry has recommended that the special industrial package granted to Himachal Pradesh be extended to 2013, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Monday.
“The ministry of commerce has recommended to the prime minister and the union finance ministry the extension of special industrial package to 2013,” Dhumal said in an official statement.

Dhumal was in New Delhi Monday to meet Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma.

According to him, the commerce ministry would also look into opportunities to attract investments in food and fruit processing and information technology sectors in the state.

“We would provide all logistic and infrastructure support to the central government for attracting investments in these sectors,” Dhumal said.

Meanwhile, a central delegation headed by Commerce Minister Sharma will visit the hill state Tuesday to assess the impact of the industrial development and study the scope of industrial expansion.

Sharma has already announced that the central government would help Himachal Pradesh in developing the food and fruit processing and information technology sectors.

“Since the economy of the hill state is highly dependent on fruit production, food and fruit processing units would be more beneficial,” he has said.

The state assembly last month passed a resolution demanding that the industrial package be extended by 10 years till 2020.

However, the opposition Congress party favoured the extension of industrial package as as originally planned — to March 2013.

“We are in favour of getting the industrial package extended as per its original time frame. We have already talked to our party leaders in the central government in this regard,” state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.

Himachal Pradesh was originally granted the industrial package for 10 years from 2003. However, this was later curtailed to March 2010.

Interestingly, the Punjab government last month moved the Supreme Court challenging the federal government’s fiscal sops since 2002 for industrial development in the neighbouring states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

It contended that the “discriminatory fiscal incentives” in the form of excise duty waiver, income-tax holidays and investment subsidies to industries in the three states had led to mass exodus of industries from Punjab.

However, Himachal Industries Minister Kishan Kapoor has justified the granting of industrial package.

“The objections by Punjab and Haryana are wrong. They fear more industrial units would migrate to us. We do not agree with their contention. Most pharmaceutical units that have set up their units here were from Goa and Maharashtra,” Kapoor maintained.

“It is quite surprising that states like Assam are claiming that grant of package to Himachal Pradesh has affected their industrial growth. The facts are otherwise,” he said.

“The latest survey (of the Secretariat for Industrial Assistance) reveals the state has been able to attract only 0.52 percent of the total investment in the industrial sector in the country since 1952. Around 99 percent of the investment is in small-scale units.”

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