Punjab today bagged top position in the country as it was declared No. 1 state in the Transition Economies in the ‘State Competitiveness Awards, 2012’ organized by ‘Institute for Competitiveness, India & Mint.’ The state also got top position in transition economy, physical infrastructure, overall competitiveness and state showing most significant promise for the future. Bikram Singh Majithia, Revenue and Public Relations Minister on behalf of Chief Minister, Punjab Parkash Singh Badal received the award in a glittering ceremony held here today. Speaking on the occasion, Majithia said that this award is reflection of peoples’ mandate, who have put a stamp of approval on the development vision of SAD-BJP government. He said that in 2007 we had envisioned to make Punjab No. 1 state in the country and this award is recognition of efforts made by our government during last five years. He said that on Saturday Punjab is all set to take a giant leap in industrial sector as Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh would dedicate Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bathinda, a Rs 21500 crore project, to the nation.He said that granary of India, Punjab has rewritten the history in recently held Vidhan Sabha polls by returning the incumbent SAD-BJP Government for the second term consecutively, that too on plank of development, which would not only fulfill the aspirations of people of Punjab but also make the Punjab a no. 1 state. He said that when the SAD-BJP combine had assumed power in the year 2007, it vowed to put Punjab on accelerated track of development and perspective plan for next 25 years. Majithia said that giving a new push to the ongoing development agenda of ruling combine, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid a roadmap to make Punjab most favoured investment destination of the country focusing on Infrastructure Structure, prominently making Punjab Power Surplus by setting up thermal plants with 10,000MW generation capacity. He said that the state government has improved the road networks by spending more than Rs 17,000 crore on 4/6 laning projects besides constructing 30 ROBs and 8 High Level Bridges with the combine cost of Rs 1225 crore whereas construction of 16 others ROBs was under progress. He said that understanding the fact that investment in Industry can be attracted by improving the connectivity of landlocked Punjab, Amritsar Airport was upgraded to international airport whereas Mohali airport would be soon operational for international flights. Elucidating the steps taken by Punjab government in industrial sector, Majithia said that the Punjab has introduced new industrial policy to give impetus to IT and Knowledge based industry, Agro based industry and Punjab Special Economic Zone Act-2009 was enacted and Punjab attracted Rs 4100 crore investment in 69 mega projects. He said that now Punjab is going to set up Textile hub in Malwa, IT hub in Kapurthala and Handtool hub in Jalandhar with a principle of focus area development. Accusing the Congress Party for its false propaganda regarding poor financial health of state, Majithia said that Punjab was able to mop-up Rs 13000 crore VAT revenue in 2011-12 that was more than double collected by Congress during 2006-07 whereas, Excise Revenue got doubled from Rs 1548 Crore to 3200 crore last year, which became possible not by increasing tax rate but by ensuring compliance. Majithia said that the Punjab has focused on development and modernization of cities by spending Rs 1275 crore on Amritsar, Rs 971 crore on Ludhiana, Rs 882 crore on Jalandhar, Rs 380 Crore on Bathinda, Rs 220 Crore on Patiala and Rs 141 crore on slum-development besides Rs 4000 crore on ensuring 100% water supply and improving sewerage system in 141 towns. Lashing out at Congress led UPA Government for unprecedented price hike, Majithia said that under the Atta-Dal Scheme the normal vision of Parkash Singh Badal, CM, Punjab, 15 lakh poor families of Punjab were getting 35 kg wheat at Rs 4 kg and 4kg protein rich Dal at a just nominal price of Rs 20 per kg and the Union Government was forced to copy our scheme under so called ‘Food Security Act’. Explaining the pro-poor initiatives of SAD-BJP Government, Majithia said that the Punjab Government was providing shagun in the marriages of poor girls, providing bicycles to all poor girls of class XI-XII besides setting-up of modern gyms in villages of Punjab. He said that more than 1.20 lakh youth were given government employment in Education, Police, Food and Civil Supplies and other departments on purely merit basis. Majithia said that Punjab as granary of India contributing 60% wheat and 40% rice in the center pool, the Punjab Government has spent more than Rs 6000 to improve the irrigation network to facilitate the farmers of Punjab so they could meet the granary needs of the nation. Majithia said that Union Government must recognize the fact that it has to come to the aid of Punjab to retain its pre-eminent position in agriculture sector and provide a helping hand by waiving off debt. He said that Punjab was spending its total plan in servicing Rs 17000 crore debts and time has come that Union Government should understand the gravity of situation.