Why it is essential to recognise and support entrepreneurship in Punjab

Why is it important to recognize and support entrepreneurship in Punjab?

Demonstration of money control

Every state’s economy consists of three major sectors: primary, secondary, and service sectors, which correspond to the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors, respectively. The state of Punjab is known as the bread basket of our country, India. Punjabis have been at the fore in defending the nation against any foreign invasion and have also been the wheat bowl of India. Thanks to the Green Revolution, the state of Punjab grew as a prosperous, rich and prosperous society.

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

It is notable that over the years, a narrative has developed that Punjab is an agrarian economy where farmers, peasants and people associated with agriculture sectors exclusively add to the state’s development and growth projectiles and its economic prosperity. There are several reasons for this narrative. For more than three to four decades, Punjab’s economy was overshadowed by the agricultural sector. This narrative is related to the political system that had the support of rich peasants and zamidars (owners).

But if we use statistics, this narrative is far from reality. Both agricultural and industrial sectors contribute equally. The latest economic data of Punjab shows the contribution of 3 sectors in the economy of Punjab in the financial year 2020-21 as follows:

Financial agriculture industry service
2020-21 27% 24% 49%
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In the financial year 2021-2022, the state has earmarked 12.5 percent of its total expenditure on agriculture and allied activities. Interestingly, in the financial year 2021-22, State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) revenue is estimated to be the largest source of the state’s own tax revenue (43 per cent). There is no denying the fact that farmers have played a leading role in the development of Punjab. But, this is the time to acknowledge, appreciate and recognize the role of entrepreneurs of Punjab.

According to the latest statistics, Punjab’s economy is the 16th largest state economy in India with a GDP value of Rs 5.29 lakh crore in the financial year 2020-2021. Although the portfolio of tradable products is very small compared to other countries, the business community continues to show its presence in the national and international arena. Major industries of Punjab are textile, sugar, dairy. and machinery and equipment – industry. The main export of Punjab is the production of clothing and textiles (53% share), machinery and equipment (15%), food products (13.1%), and motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (6.5% share). .

Punjabi industrialist role:

The commercial class of Punjab consists of small, medium and large traders, merchants, artisans. Any progress made by this industry is primarily due to the efforts of these entrepreneurs themselves. Punjabi industry started by enterprising Punjabi entrepreneurs against the backdrop of India’s partition and being bordered by hostile neighbors with whom we had to fight three wars.

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

There is rarely any good supply of natural resources or minerals, making it difficult to set up mineral-based industries. Therefore, they lack primary resources.

Political regimes in the last 75 years have supported the agricultural sector much more than the industrial and commercial sectors.

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

Punjab is a landlocked state and has no ports.

Although Punjab does not have any significant share of natural resources like ores and minerals, Punjabi entrepreneurs have created an industrial hub and industrial culture with their skills, business acumen and ingenuity. The major share of employment in Punjab is done by the textile sector, the direct and indirect employment of the textile industry in the state of Punjab is estimated to be around 20 thousand workers. Batala and Mandi Govindgarh are busy iron foundry towns.

Batala was once called the “Iron Bird of Asia” because it produced the largest amount of CI casting, agricultural and mechanical machinery and is still one of the leading cities in the north. India In the manufacture of CI and mechanical casting machines. Ludhiana It is known as the Manchester of India because of its hardworking entrepreneurs. It shows its presence in terms of textile exports in the whole world.

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Despite all these odds, Punjabi businessmen have not only survived but also made their presence felt in the development of Punjab and India. According to a recent Hindustan Times report, entrepreneurs based in Punjab are among the richest people in India. Among India’s top rich businessmen, the owner of the Punjab-based Trident Group (Barnala, Ludhiana), which operates in the textile and paper industry, is ranked 127th in the country. LD Mittal of Sonalika Group (Hoshiarpur) is the 71st richest Indian with a net worth of $2.92 billion, followed by SP Oswal of Vardhman Textiles (Ludhiana) in Punjab (Rs 4,600 crore). Other prominent family-owned businesses include Oswal (Ludhiana), R. Aarti Steels (Rs 1,700 crore), Bector Foods (Ludhiana) owned by Anoop Bector (Rs 1,200 crore), Pankaj Munjal of Hero Cycles, (Rs 9,000 crore) who are among the richest people in the country.

Ironically, the political system in Punjab has not only been pro-agricultural, but has been dispassionate. It is indifferent to industrial and commercial sectors. There is hardly a viable industrial policy in Punjab. It is time to acknowledge, recognize and appreciate the role of Punjabi entrepreneurs in the development of Punjab. They should be given due credit. Not only a robust industrial policy, but also an industrial culture must be developed.

The author is an independent commentator. Opinions are personal.

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