Phdcci Wants Northern States To Catch Up With Southern Brothers

New Delhi, November 27: | Updated: Nov 28 2002, 05:30am hrs
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Phdcci) has decided to initiate intensive face-to-face dialogue between industry and chief ministers of northern states to push industrial growth and reforms at the state-level.

The first such interaction will take place between 30-odd industrialists from Haryana and the state chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, Phdccis president elect PK Jain told FE.

Mr Jain who has been actively involved with the chamber for about 22 years will take over as Phdccis president at its annual general meeting on Friday. He said the industry body is planning to do a similar interface with Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh which will be followed with other states including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Mr Jain said Phdcci was trying to impress upon these states that their governments needed to take up big bang reforms to attract investments to bridge the growing gap with southern states.

Phdcci will also intensify its efforts for speedier disinvestment of state government undertakings since most of them were making huge losses. The industry body is also pushing the state governments for making payments to state electricity boards even if free power was being provided to the farmers so that the boards are not in the red. The power supplied should be billed, and paid for by either the consumer or the government, said Mr Jain, who is chairman and managing director of The Malt Company India Ltd. The Rs 25 crore company manufactures malt and malt extract for industrial customers, and also has a strategic partnership with Glaxo Smithkline consumer product division to supply the same under a contract arrangement.

States like Haryana may be making efforts to woo foreign direct investment but the results have been at best a trickle till now. Other states in the region are only doing worse. Phdcci hopes the good work being done by others specially those in the south, would spur action by lesser performing ones due to competitive pressure. Mr Jain rated the state governments between four and five on a scale of 10 in being proactive and receptive to industry suggestions.

Mr Jain agreed that all reform processes have totally ignored the agricultural sector. Phdcci is looking at promoting value addition in this sector. But there are hurdles. Except sugarcane and some other produce, all other grains have to be sold through mandis only by law. Not only does it mean commissions to middlemen, cost prices unnecessarily go up due to additional transport from the fields to the mandis on their way to the mills. Pilferage and transport losses add to the cost.

The chamber is also working on promoting higher standards of corporate governance amongst its members. They are tying up with Indian and international institutes to share ideas with managers and train them. In the pipeline are corporate governance awards too. Mr Jain added that lower taxes had shown to take government revenues up. With majority of the contribution coming from the corporate sector rather than the small and medium enterprises, it is the former who are leading the way in this area. The chamber believes less government interference will stimulate a better practice of corporate governance.