Industry, Home Affairs Ministries to speed up security clearances for foreign investors

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working with the Home Ministry to expedite the grant of security clearances for foreign investors, a top official said on Wednesday.

States are also being persuaded to speed up the refund of taxes, such as value-added tax and sales tax.

“Our view is that [when] you ask for whatever clearance you need, if it doesn’t come within a particular time, it should be presumed that there is nothing wrong. That is the way it has to work everywhere, but [in] security [it] is still a challenge,” said Ramesh Abhishek, secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry .

“There is a need for everything to be time-bound with a reasonable time period and we face this challenge too as we administer industrial licences for explosives manufacturing. We have been working with the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite this and have said that clearances should be time-bound and fast-tracked,” he said.

On delays in tax refunds

Mr. Abhishek said, in an ideal scenario, such taxes should not be collected at all instead of being collected and then refunded after two or three years. “There is a State that owes Rs. 3,000 crore refund to one company alone. We are talking to States to see how this can be fast-tracked… as otherwise, the cost of capital for doing business goes up,” he said.

The Centre is also working with State administrations to deal with incentives and refunds promised to investors under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime for indirect taxes.

“Improving the ease of doing business in the country has not been easy for the past two years and won’t be easy in the coming years as it requires dismantling of several legacy systems including physical touch points for clearances… we want to get into the top 50 ranks of the World Bank’s index for ease of doing business, but also want to do so many reforms that are not covered by the Bank,” the secretary said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 10:48:57 AM |

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