Why it is essential to recognise and support entrepreneurship in Punjab

Why it is essential to recognize and support entrepreneurship in Punjab

Representative image. Money control

Any state economy is made up of three main sectors: the primary, secondary and service sectors, which correspond respectively to the agriculture, industry and service sectors. The state of Punjab is known as the breadbasket of our country, India. The Punjabis have been at the forefront of defending the nation against any foreign invasion and have also been India’s wheat bowl. Thanks to the green revolution, the state of Punjab has become a prosperous, wealthy and affluent society.

Punjab was the wealthiest in the country by per capita income and held that title for over 20 years. Interestingly, this title was mainly due to Punjab’s agricultural sector which at one time contributed over 50% of Punjab’s GDP.

Notably, over the years a narrative has evolved that Punjab is an agrarian economy where farmers, peasants and people connected with agrarian sectors have exclusively added to the development and growth projectiles of the state and its prosperity economic. There are various reasons for this story. For more than three to four decades, the economy of Punjab was overshadowed and overwhelmed by the agrarian sector. This narrative suited the political dispensation which enjoyed the support of wealthy peasants and zamidars (owners).

But, if we rely on facts and figures, this account is far from the truth. The agrarian and industrial sectors contribute equally. The latest Punjab economic data shows the contribution of the 3 sectors of the Punjab economy in the financial year 2020-21 as follows:

AF Agriculture Industry A service
2020-21 27% 24% 49%

In the 2021-22 fiscal year, the state allocated 12.5% ​​of its total spending to agriculture and related activities. Interestingly, in fiscal year 2021-22, revenue from the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) is estimated to be the largest source of state-owned tax revenue (43%). It is undeniable that farmers have played a leading role in the development of Punjab. But, this is the time to recognise, appreciate and recognize the role of Punjab entrepreneurs.

According to the latest statistics, the economy of Punjab is the 16th largest state economy in India with a GDP value of ₹5.29 lakh crore in the financial year 2020-21. Although the basket of tradable products is very small compared to other states, the business community still marks its presence on the national and international scene. The main industries of Punjab are textiles, sugar, dairy products; and machinery and equipment industry. Punjab’s major exports are manufacture of garments and textiles (53% share), machinery and equipment (15%), foodstuffs (13.1%) and motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. trailers (6.5% share) of Punjab’s manufacturing exports. .

The role of the Punjabi industrialist:

The business class of Punjab consists of small, medium and large businessmen, traders, industrialists. Whatever progress the industry has made has been largely due to the efforts of these entrepreneurs themselves. The Punjabi industry which was set up by the hard working Punjabi entrepreneurs in the context of the partition of India and being a border state with hostile neighbors with whom we had to fight three wars.

Why Punjabi Industrialist’s situation is different from the rest of India:

There are hardly any good sources of natural resources or minerals, making it difficult to build mineral-based industries. So they lack primary sources.

The political regimes of the last 75 years have supported the agricultural sector much more than the industrial and commercial sectors.

Punjab being a border state with a hostile neighbor and has to bear the brunt of all the wars with Pakistan. Punjabi trade with and through Pakistan is almost non-existent.

Punjab is a landlocked state and has no port.

Although Punjab does not have significant natural resources like ores and minerals, Punjabi entrepreneurs have through their skills, business acumen and courage created an industrial hub and an industrial culture. Most of the employment in Punjab is supported by the textile sector where the direct and indirect employment of the textile industry in the state of Punjab is estimated at 20 lakhs of workers. Batala and Mandi Govindgarh are bustling cities of cast iron.

Batala was once called “Asia’s iron bird” because it produced the largest amount of CI casting, agricultural and mechanical machinery and is still one of the major cities in the north India in the manufacture of IC molding and mechanical machinery. Ludhiana is known as Manchester of India due to the efforts of its industrious entrepreneurs. It marks its presence in terms of textile exports all over the world.

Despite all these hurdles, the businessmen of Punjab has not only survived but marked its presence in the development of Punjab and India. According to a recent report by Hindustan Times, Punjab-based entrepreneurs are among India’s wealthy. Among India’s richest businessmen, the owner of the Punjab-based Trident Group (Barnala, Ludhiana), which works in the textile and paper industry, ranks 127th in the country. LD Mittal of Sonalika Group (Hoshiarpur) is the 71st richest Indian with a net worth of $2.92 billion and SP Oswal of Vardhman Textiles (Ludhiana) ranks second in Punjab (₹4,600 crore). Other prominent family businesses are Oswal Family (Ludhiana), RN Gupta & Co, (Ludhiana) (₹2,800 crore), Avon Cycles Group (Ludhiana) owned by Onkar Singh Pahwa (₹1,700 crore), Shiv Prasad Mittal and Family of Aarti Steels (₹1,700 crore), Bector Foods (Ludhiana) owned by Anoop Bector (₹1,200 crore), Pankaj Munjal, of Hero Cycles, (₹9,000 crore) who are among the richest people from the country.

Ironically, the political dispensation in Punjab has not only been favorable to agriculture, but has been apathetic indifferent to the industrial and commercial sectors. There is hardly any viable industrial policy in Punjab. This is a time to recognize, recognize and appreciate the role played by Punjabi entrepreneurs in the development of Punjab. They should be given their due credit. Not only a resilient industrial policy but an industrial culture must be developed.

The author is an independent commentator. Views are personal.

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