Ahluwalia echoes PM's views on industrial revolution
Amritsar, Mar 30: Echoing the views of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who emphasised on a 'industrial revolution' in Punjab,noted economist Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia felt that the state government would have to create a condusive investment climate to attract big industrial houses.
She stressed the need to provide infrastructure facilities and enhance skill base of the state for rapid industrial progress.
She also felt the need to develop airports of international standard, dedicated cargo rail line up to Ludhiana, four-laning of national highways as announced by the PM.
Dr Ahluwalia, who is the Vice-Chairperson of Punjab Planning Board, expressed these views while delivering the inaugural Amardeep Memorial Lecture on ''Punjab Economy: Challenges Ahead'' arranged by the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) here yesterday.
Talking about the industrialization in Punjab, she referred to the potential of development and said there was a scope for development of services sector like health and tourism but still agriculture sector was the principal driver of state's development.
She emphasized that there was a great need of agro-based industry which would lead to crop diversification.
Small scale industry, particularly textile and auto component, was necessary to re-energise the growth potential of the state, she said, adding that efforts should also be made to encourage the private players to establish units in agro-processing and auto-component industry.
Talking about Indo-Pak relations, she said the improvement in these relations was another positive indicator for enhancing the trade and it would help in growth process of the state.
She was of the view that there was a dire need to develop Institutes of Higher Learning and Technical Institutions. She highlighted that Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) and National Law School was a positive signal to develop skilled manpower in the country.
As Indian economy is growing, Punjab, with a strong agriculture base, is loosing its ground, she opined. It was because of slow structural change and industrialisation, she added.
Stressing on the need of diversifying out of rice and wheat cultivation to horticulture crops, she highlighted the scope for Public Private Participation (PPP) in industrialisation of the state.
Eminent agriculture economist Dr S S Johal,who is also the Vice-Chairman of Punjab State Planning Board, in his lecture said Punjab was not diversifying in crop production, because the Union Government wanted to produce food grains only. Punjab is the only state which has surplus food grains as 90 percent of the food grain moves from here to the other states of the country, he added.