The special incentive package notified by the Centre for Himachal Pradesh has seen approval of over 7,000 industrial investment proposals in the State worth a cumulative Rs 17,103 crore till April this year.
Buoyed by the excise and income-tax concessions announced by the Centre for Special Category States such as Himachal Pradesh in January 2003, companies that have flocked to the State include cement majors ACC and Gujarat Ambuja, pharmaceutical firms Dabur, Morepen and Ranbaxy, electronics firm Samtel and textile companies Vardhaman, Oswals and Malwa Cotton. The overall employment generation from units coming up under the package is pegged at about 2,49,000 people, according to State Government estimates. The duty sops have acted as catalyst for the industrialisation drive, with the share of industries and services sectors going up from 1.1 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively in 1950-51 to 15.9 per cent and 17.3 per cent in the year 2005-06.
Besides the thrust to the small-scale sector in Himachal Pradesh following the notification of duty incentives, the State has approved 773 investment proposals in the medium and large-scale sector with proposed investment of Rs 12,854.87 crore and additional employment generation for 1,11,914 persons up to April 2006, according to the estimates.
Excise, I-T exemptions
The Centre's package provided for 100 per cent income-tax exemption to industrial units for five years from the date of commencement of commercial production. It also extended a 100-per-cent excise duty exemption for a period of 10 years from the date of commencement of commercial production to new industrial units and also for existing industrial units on their substantial expansion plans.
While the excise exemption scheme, in the original proposal, was to be valid till 2013, the validity period was shifted back to March 31, 2007, following opposition from neighbouring States such as Haryana and Punjab, which claimed that the duty sops extended to the Special Category States were leading to a flight of industry from their respective States.
However, the momentum in the States' industrialisation drive is expected to be back on track, with the Centre, through a notification last week, extending the excise duty sops to the State till 2010. Besides Himachal Pradesh, the Centre's duty sops were extended to other Special Category States including the North Eastern States and Uttaranchal.