Major positive change in industrial policy , growth of local entrepreneurship being incentivized

Sekhar Datta

In a historic decision to promote local entrepreneurship and business initiative, the chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb has amended the government's longstanding 'Tripura Industrial Investment Promotion Incentive Scheme (TIIPIS)'-2017. The amendment was done on June 14 2019 with the specific purpose of encouraging and incentivizing local entrepreneurship .
As part of the amendment which is very positive the price preference  has been raised from only 15% to 20% now for both manufacturing and service sector against the earlier policy of only 15% price preference for only manufacturing sector as against bidders from outside the state. Secondly , in order to encourage local entrepreneurs in competing for tenders the amended policy has clearly stated that " procuring agencies shall endeavour to see that the eligibility conditions in tenders including on the matters like turn-over, experience , production , capacity and financial strength should be reasonable enough so as to enable the local industrial enterprises to participate in the tenders, who would otherwise be eligible". This is a clear-leg up for local enterprises. But for bringing outside investments also the policy has been amended like increase in subsidy in power, transport, internet, terms loan etc. This will  encourage investors from outside the state to set up units in Tripura and create employment opportunities here.

Moreover, the scope of 'thrust sector' in industrial activities has been extended to include " service activities, namely, hotel business, Tourism promoting activities (water-sports, ropeways, adventure and leisure sports) with a minimum investment of Rs 3 crores (excluding land) and hospitals/nursing homes with a minimum capacity of 50 beds shall mean Thrust sector industries". Needless to say that this policy amendment is all set to spur growth of industrial initiatives in the state . Earlier only rubber, bamboo , tea , agriculture , horticulture, gas based business activities were categorized as 'Thrust sector'.

Sources in the industry body  said that during the previous regime the facilities given in the central government's MSME guideline were denied to local entrepreneurs even though the same were available in all other states. As a result many companys that had invested in Tripura were ultimately forced to wind up business and no investment was made in the MSME sector . Even the Bodhjungnagar  industrial estate became practically dead because of local problems such as extraneous interference and many companys that had initially come forward to invest left the state as soon as they got the subsidy as part of government policy.

During earlier regime caucuses had been formed in every department that prepared the terms and conditions in tenders like high-turnovers, unnecessary experience for even small works etc only to bring in bidders from outside the state for slush money . For instance , even for a first-time work in Tripura experience certificate for five years was sought only to keep local entrepreneurs out of competition . These caucuses are still active in some departments that float tenders for work in many sectors still flourish through many kinds of manipulation and machinations. Nothing illustrates the point better than the recent tender for manpower service in Police and Panchayat department seeking experience for five years and extra points for longer experience. Interestingly , five years ago no manpower service work had been outsourced on such a largescale in Tripura.

Local industrial entrepreneurs have expressed satisfaction over the amendment of the industrial policy and they feel that what is required now is strict adherence to the amendment of the policy by all departments . 'The copies of the amended policy need to be sent to all departments with clear and strict instruction for complying with the amended terms and conditions of the policy so that they are implemented at the ground level to help local entrepreneurs ; the chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb has taken a great step and we thank him but we just want that amended policy be followed strictly and the caucuses in departments are put on alert against any violation of the policy norms' said leading entrepreneur of the state.

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