Why it is essential to recognize and support entrepreneurship in Punjab

Why it is essential to recognize and support entrepreneurship in Punjab

Representative image. Moneycontrol

Any economy of a country consists of three broad sectors: the primary, secondary and service sectors which correspond to the agriculture, industry and service sectors respectively. Punjab is known as the breadbasket of our country, India. Punjabis were at the forefront in defending the nation from any foreign invasions and they were also the bowl of India’s wheat. Thanks to the Green Revolution, Punjab has grown as a prosperous, rich and wealthy society.

Punjab was the richest country in per capita income and held that title for more than 20 years. Interestingly, this title was primarily at the expense of Punjab’s agricultural sector which at one time contributed more than 50% to the GDP of Punjab.

In particular, over the years, a narrative has been developed that Punjab is an agrarian economy where farmers, peasants and people associated with agricultural sectors exclusively added to the development and growth projects of the state and its economic prosperity. There are various reasons for this novel. For more than three to four decades, the economy of Punjab has been dominated by the agricultural sector. This narrative fit the political measure that enjoyed the support of the rich peasants and Zmidar (the angel).

But if we go by facts and figures, this narrative is far from the truth. Both the agricultural and industrial sectors contribute equally. The latest economic data of Punjab shows the contribution of the three sectors to the economy of Punjab in the 2020-2021 financial year as follows:

fiscal year Farming industry service
2020-21 27% 24% 49%

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the country allocated 12.5 percent of its total spending to agriculture and related activities. Interestingly, in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, government goods and services tax (SGST) revenue is estimated to be the largest source of state tax revenue (43 percent). There is no denying the fact that farmers have played a leading role in the development of Punjab. But this is the time to recognize, appreciate and acknowledge the role of entrepreneurs in Punjab.

As per the latest stats, Punjab’s economy is the 16th largest economy of the country in India with a value of 5.29 lakh crores of GDP in the 2020-2021 financial year. Although the basket of tradable products is very small compared to other countries, the business community still makes its presence felt on the national and international scene. The major industries in Punjab are textiles, sugar and dairy products. and machinery and equipment industry. Punjab’s main exports are manufacturing apparel and textiles (53.% share), machinery and equipment (15%), food products (13.1%), and automobiles, trailers and semi-trailers (6.5% share) of Punjab’s industrial exports. .

The role of the Punjabi industrialist:

Punjab’s business class consists of small, medium and large businessmen, merchants and industrialists. Whatever progress the industry has made is primarily on account of the private efforts of these entrepreneurs. Punjabi industry established by hardworking Punjabi businessmen in the background of Partition of India and being a frontier country with hostile neighbors with whom we had to fight three wars.

Why is the situation of the Punjabi industrialist different from the rest of India:

There is hardly any good source of natural resources or minerals which makes it difficult to set up industries based on minerals. So they lack primary sources.

The political systems over the past 75 years have supported the agriculture sector much more than the industrial and business sectors.

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

Punjab is a landlocked country and does not have any port.

Although Punjab does not have any significant portion of natural resources such as ores and minerals, Punjabi entrepreneurs with their skills, business acumen and determination have created an industrial center and industrial culture. The textile sector takes care of the bulk of employment in Punjab with the direct and indirect employment of the textile industry in Punjab state estimated at 20,000 workers. Batala and Mandi Govindgarh are bustling cast iron cities.

Batala was once called the “Iron Bird of Asia” as it produced the largest amount of CI casting machinery, agricultural and mechanical machinery and is still one of the leading cities in North India In manufacturing CI casting machines and mechanical machines. Ludhiana It is known as Manchester of India due to the efforts of tireless entrepreneurs. It represents its presence in terms of textile exports all over the world.

In spite of all these difficulties Punjabi businessmen not only survived but made their presence felt in the development of Punjab and India. According to a recent report in Hindustan Times, entrepreneurs in Punjab are among the richest people in India. Among India’s tycoons, the Punjab-based owner of the Trident Group (Barnala, Ludhiana) who operates in the textile and paper industries ranks 127th in the country. LD Mittal of Sonalika Group (Hoshiarpur) is India’s 71st richest with a net worth of $2.92 billion and SP Oswal of Vardhman Textiles (Ludhiana) is Punjab’s 2nd richest (Rs. 4,600 crores). Other notable family businesses are Oswal Family (Ludhiana), RN Gupta & Co, (Ludhiana) (Rs. 2,800 crores), Avon Cycles Group (Ludhiana) owned by Onkar Singh Pahwa (Rs. 1,700 crores), Shiv Prasad Mittal and a family of Aarti Steels (Rs. 1,700 crores), Bector Foods (Ludhiana) owned by Anoop Bector (Rs. 1,200 crores), Pankaj Munjal, of Hero Cycles, (Rs. 9,000 crores) who are among the richest people in the country .

Ironically, the political measure in Punjab was not only pro-agrarian but careless Indifferent to the industrial and commercial sectors. There is hardly any viable industrial policy in Punjab. It is time to acknowledge, acknowledge and appreciate the role Punjabi entrepreneurs have played in the development of Punjab. They must be given due credit. Not only flexible industrial policy should be developed, but the culture of industry should be developed.

The writer is an independent commentator. Opinions are personal.

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