On November 17 and 18, USISPF hosted the U.S.-Punjab Investor Summit Roundtable Series. In the inaugural session, the Chief Minister of the Government of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, spoke about the growing potential for investors in Punjab and the significant contributions that the state had been consistently making to India’s growth and development over the last few decades. He also proudly spoke about the farmers of Punjab, and the steps that the government was taking to ensure that their livelihoods would be aptly protected. Taranjit Sindu, Ambassador of India to the U.S., further mentioned that India had proven itself to be a reliable partner and friend in the terms of reform, resilience, and recovery to corporations in the global arena. Referring to the recent developments regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, he was certain that Punjab would lead the manufacturing of the vaccine which will be undoubtedly crucial for its quick distribution. Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, added that Punjab has successfully created an ecosystem that provides the kind of setup that corporate leaders are looking for.
Praising the state of Punjab as the “Foodbowl of India,” Ajay Banga, the CEO of Mastercard, stated that doing business in the state of Punjab was “Sacha Sauda,” or a true bargain. He reassured investors that Punjab was the start-up hub of the country and that its growth story makes it an attractive destination for investments. He also recognized the potential for the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to support development across agriculture, supply chain manufacturing, health and education. Touching upon the issue of education during the time of the pandemic, he commended the outstanding work that the state of Punjab had done to make their public school a true model of learning for the students. Despite challenges being posed by the pandemic, he said, Punjab continues to attract investors. Currently, 30+ American firms are based in Punjab, assisting the state to become a part of global supply chains. Lastly, Alok Shekhar, Principal Secretary of the Government of Punjab brought to attention some key points on the importance of businesses across the globe collaborating for mutual benefit in Punjab.
At the Food and Agriculture Roundtable, USISPF hosted Anirudh Tewari, Additional Chief Secretary, Development of Horticulture, who spoke on the impressive contribution of the state to the total food and vegetables production of the country. He also added that Punjab was on track to becoming the seed production hub of the country. Ambassador Taranjit Sindhu further announced that Punjab and the United States could explore complementarities in a range of sectors including agriculture, food processing, education, textile, garment, renewable energy, light engineering, pharma and IT. Rajat Agarwal, CEO of Invest Punjab, cited the importance of ensuring food security in the nation, a task that the state of Punjab had actively undertaken. He stressed the huge potential for pharma and medical apparatus companies to set up their manufacturing units in Punjab, especially in the midst of the exponential expansion of the pharma landscape in the state. He further shared the recent developments made in the state-of-the-art facilities at the upcoming Bulk Drug/Pharma Park at Bathinda and Wazirabad.
After a successful first day, the U.S.-Punjab Investor Roundtable Series convened again for a conversation with Alok Shekhar, Principal Secretary of Department of Industries and Commerce at the Government of India. Alok Shekhar expanded on the opportunity for investments in GD engineering, bicycle manufacturing, and the demand for precision engineering. He added that there were 250+ registered IT units in Punjab, which is also home to big names like Infosys, Fidelity, Bunge, FIS, Emerson, Meritech, and Quark. Rajat Agarwal, CEO of Invest Punjab, agreed with the general consensus and mentioned that private industry partners were contributing to the infrastructure and industry partners were coming in with their trainers, a move that was sure to improve infrastructure in the state. He presented the major investment opportunities in engineering and manufacturing in the state in key areas including Railway Coach Manufacturing, Heavy Engineering, Precision Engineering, and Automobile OEMs. He also lauded Mohali’s position as the IT and startup destination of Punjab that offers more than 1.5 million sq ft ready to move “Plug and Play” facilities in STPI, Quark City, Bestech, and more.
In the concluding event of the series, Rahul Bhandari, Secretary of the Department of Higher Education and Languages in the Government of India, spoke about the 260+ million students currently studying in educational institutions in Punjab. There were representatives from more than 30 educational institutions from the U.S. present at the event who participated in a collaborative and energetic discussion on the exploration of future opportunities for higher education collaboration between India and the U.S.