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Power drive for industry roadmap

Patna, June 7: The Nitish Kumar government today announced its much awaited policy to give a boost to industrial growth that is still eluding Bihar.

The new industrial policy, which is based on a study of that existing in six other states, appears relatively more organised than the previous one that was in place since 2006.

The new policy, whose tenure is also for five years, promises a slew of incentives and support packages to lure investors.

Principal secretary, industries, C.K. Mishra said: “We have prepared the new policy after going through the policies of six states (among them Gujarat, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand). We have come out with a better policy to attract investment in all categories, especially by small and medium enterprises.”

The policy, which will come in to effect from July 1, 2011, has identified nine “thrust areas” — food processing, agro-based industries, tourism, super specialty hospitals, IT, technical and high education, electronics, hardware and non-conventional sources of energy.

The government, however, did not say anything much on the contentious issue of land acquisition. All it promised was that the government would try its best to make land available to the entrepreneurs.

The state has made available Rs 1,500 crore to the authorities concerned for strengthening the land bank, Mishra said, but added that this has not been included in the policy.

But the government has come out with an aggressive policy on power — the engine of growth which is in short supply in Bihar.

The new policy lays down a subsidy grant of 50 per cent for setting up captive power plants. The quantum of grant/subsidy would go up to 60 per cent if any unit wishes to set up non-conventional sources of energy for captive use.

Mishra said entrepreneurs would not have to pay any stamp duty for land registration if they want to set up either a new industrial unit or intend to carry out any expansion to existing projects.

The policy promises to give a capital subsidy of about Rs 5 crore to those making less than Rs 500 crore of investments whereas Rs 30 crore would be given as capital subsidy to industrial units which intend to make investment of Rs 500 crore or more, he said.

Continuing with its social empowerment policy, the scheme says that if any industrial unit follows government reservation policy, they would get 10 per cent additional funds. But following the government’s reservation policy is not binding on them.

Besides this, the government would give special incentive to entrepreneurs hailing from Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes. Women and the disabled would also get similar benefits. For these categories, 100 per cent VAT would be reimbursed if their turnover crosses Rs 30 lakh per annum.

The previous policy, which was introduced in April 2006 and came to an end in March 2011, could not attract much investment. The State Investment Promotion Board had cleared proposals of Rs 2.15 lakh crore, but only about Rs 2,000 crore came into fruition.

Industrialists were therefore cautious. Confederation of Indian Industry’s regional vice-chairman of eastern India, Satyajit Singh said: “The policy is an improvement over the previous one but the real challenge is in implementation. Various incentives announced in the previous policy were not implemented in the entire period of five years. The government should come out with a notification on implementation.”

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