Davos, January 24: Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Thursday secured commitment from the fifth largest manufacturer of generic agrochemicals in the world, the UPL Group to setup five state-of-the-art projects in the state.

This assurance came during the high level bilateral meeting at the World Economic Forum at Davos between the delegation from Invest Punjab led by Manpreet Singh Badal and the Vice Chairman and MD UPL Limited Jai Shroff.

According to an official spokesperson, these proposed projects across the state in the field of state-of-the-art technology for real time monitoring of multiple soil parameters including moisture, requirement of fertilizer, status of plant health, pests etc would enable the Punjab farmers in curtailing input costs and most importantly, water. Notably, it a sensor based technology in fields with central control room and use of AI for monitoring and guidance on suggested interventions. In addition, UPL proposes to introduce Laser scanning of horticulture crops to  predict the quantum of produce that farmers can expect from their fields. UPL also expects to employ 2000 rural youth by 2021 for providing these services to the farmers.

Addressing the session at the “Food Action Alliance: Accelerating Food Systems Transformation” , the Finance Minister highlighted Punjab’s role as the Food Bowl of India and shared recent initiatives undertaken by the Punjab Government to promote innovation & sustainability in the agro & food processing sector in Punjab and encourage investments from food processing companies. Manpreet Badal also explained the importance of collaboration from global players in Punjab’s drive to implement seed traceability and crop diversification. 

Notably, this session was a high level discussion of global and regional leaders to mobilise collective leadership action for initiating systematic change in global food system.

The delegation also met MD & CEO, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) Dr. Pawan Goenka, where the company promised to increase Mahindra’s footprint in the auto sector in Punjab. In addition, M&M also evinced keen interest in replicating their pilot project for converting bio-mass to energy and contributing in sustainable energy solutions  in the state. The Group has also shown serious interest in developing Mahindra industrial park in the State and sought details on available land parcels for the same.

To promote Healthcare and Medical Tourism sectors in Punjab, the delegation had an detailed interactions with Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman, VPS Healthcare (a UAE Based healthcare Group ) regarding VPS Healthcare’s planned investment of INR 1000 cr in the Indian healthcare market. 

Meanwhile, Advisor Investment Facilitation Mr. B.S. Kohli also participated in a discussion on “Accelerating the Smart City – Financing Solutions & Project Governance For Emerging Markets”. Kohli spoke about the three smart cities in Punjab and emphasized the importance of de-risking capital to enable private sector financing in smart cities.

The Invest Punjab team also held deliberations with Mr. Anil Menon, the Head of the Centre for Global Industries, World Economic Forum to discuss the new engagements that WEF and Punjab can partner together for sustainable growth. The delegation also met Ms. Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist IMF and  other Central Ministers and corporate leaders.

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