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Any economy of a state is made up of three large sectors: primary, secondary and service sectors that correspond to the agricultural, industrial and service sectors respectively. Punjab state is known as the breadbasket of our country India. Punjabis have been in the forefront in defending the nation from any foreign invasion and have also been India’s wheat bowl. Thanks to the green revolution, the Punjab state grew as a prosperous, wealthy and wealthy society.
Punjab was the richest in the country in terms of per capita income and held this title for more than 20 years. Interestingly, this title was mainly due to Punjab’s agricultural sector, which at one point contributed more than 50% of Punjab’s GDP.
In particular, over the years, a narrative has developed that Punjab is an agrarian economy where farmers, peasants and people associated with the agrarian sectors exclusively added to the growth and development shells of the state and its economic prosperity. . There are several reasons for this narrative. For more than three to four decades, Punjab’s economy was dwarfed and overwhelmed by the agrarian sector. This narrative suited the political dispensation that enjoyed the support of rich peasants and zamidars (owners).
But, if we go by facts and figures, this narrative is far from the truth. Both the agricultural and industrial sectors contribute equally. Latest Punjab economic data shows the contribution of all 3 sectors in Punjab economy in FY 2020-21 as follows:
In the 2021-22 fiscal year, the state allocated 12.5 percent of its total spending to agriculture and related activities. Interestingly, in the 2021-22 fiscal year, revenue from the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) is estimated to be the largest source of state own tax revenue (43%). There is no denying the fact that farmers have played a leading role in the development of Punjab. But this is the time to recognise, appreciate and acknowledge the role of Punjab businessmen.
According to the latest statistics, the Punjab economy is the 16th largest state economy in India with a GDP value of ₹5.29 lakh crores in fiscal year 2020-21. Although the basket of tradable products is very small compared to other states, the business community still marks its presence at the national and international level. Punjab’s main industries are textiles, sugar, dairy products; and Machinery and Equipment-industry. Punjab’s main exports are garment and textile manufacturing (53% share), machinery and equipment (15%), foodstuffs (13.1%), and motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (6, 5%) of Punjab’s manufacturing 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 largely due to the efforts of these entrepreneurs themselves. Punjabi industry which has been established by the hard working Punjabi businessmen in the context of partitioning India and being a border state with hostile neighbors with whom we had to fight three wars.
Why Punjabi Industrialist Situation Is Different From Rest Of India:
– There is hardly a good source of natural or mineral resources, making it difficult to create mineral-based industries. Therefore, they lack primary sources.
– The political regimes of the last 75 years have supported the agricultural sector much more than the industrial sector and the business sector.
– 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 almost non-existent.
– Punjab is a landlocked state and does not have any ports.
Although Punjab does not have a substantial share of natural resources like minerals and ores, Punjab entrepreneurs with their skills, business acumen and determination have created an industrial hub and industrial culture. Most of the employment in Punjab is in the textile sector, where the direct and indirect employment of the textile industry in Punjab state is estimated at 20 lakhs of workers. battle it and Mandi Govindgarh are bustling iron-smelting towns.
Batala was once called the “iron bird of Asia” as it produced the largest amount of IC casting, agricultural and mechanical machinery and is still one of the major cities in the north. India in the manufacture of IC foundry and mechanical machinery. Ludhiana It is known as the Manchester of India due to the efforts of its industrious businessmen. It marks its presence in terms of textile exports worldwide.
Despite all these odds, Punjabi businessmen not only survived but marked their presence in the development of Punjab and India. According to a recent Hindustan Times report, Punjab businessmen are among the wealthiest people in India. Of India’s top wealthy businessmen, the Punjab-based owner of Trident Group (Barnala, Ludhiana), which is engaged 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 and SP Oswal of Vardhman Textiles (Ludhiana) ranks second in Punjab (₹4.6 billion rupees). The other prominent family businesses are Oswal Family (Ludhiana), RN Gupta & Co, (Ludhiana) (₹2.8 billion rupees), Avon Cycles Group (Ludhiana) owned by Onkar Singh Pahwa (₹1.7 billion rupees), Shiv Prasad Mittal and Family of Aarti Steels (₹1,700 crore), Bector Foods (Ludhiana) owned by Anoop Bector (₹1,200 crore), Hero Cycles’ Pankaj Munjal (₹9,000 crore), who are among the people richest in the country.
Ironically, the political distribution in Punjab has not only been pro-agricultural, but has been apathetically indifferent to the industrial and business sectors. There is hardly any viable industrial policy in Punjab. It is the time to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the role played by Punjabi businessmen in the development of Punjab. They must be given their due credit. Not only a resilient industrial policy must be developed, but also an industrial culture.
The writer is an independent commentator. Views are personal.