BUSINESS

‘One India’ push for ease of business

easy glide:Investors have to fill only a single e-form for investing and doing business in India.— FILE PHOTO  

The Centre is working with State governments to introduce a ‘One India’ concept, the most ambitious ‘ease of doing business’ initiative so far.

Under the ‘one-form-one-portal’ model, aimed at attracting huge investments, the processes will be simplified to an extent where investors will need to fill only a single e-form for investing and doing business anywhere in India. Currently, firms are mandated to complete multiple forms at the Central and State-levels, and it gets more complicated as each State has different requirements and regulations.

‘Information wizard’

“We are working on what could be the world’s best single window clearance mechanism with an in-built information wizard that will help investors with the application processes,” a senior official said. “(In this regard), we have just begun talks with the states, and will soon hold discussions with the private sector and users of government services,” the official, who did not wish to be identified, added.

The reform plan is among steps aimed at helping raise India’s global ranking on the World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business’ index — from 130 in 2016 — to the top 50 among the 189 economies featured on the list. The proposed concept will also make it easy for investors to even change plans midway and shift projects to different locations in India where it is easier to do business.

As an initial measure, a draft ‘Common Application Form’ is being circulated among states for their feedback, the sources said, adding that a few states have already accepted the concept.

However, discussions will be held on possible exceptions, including for environment and security-related clearances.

The Centre is already developing an eBiz project that is basically a government-to-business portal.

The services offered under the portal — which firms and investors can use 24X7 online — are on starting, running and closing down a business.

Introduced in January 2014, the portal has an integrated payment gateway and currently offers 17 pan-India services (at the Central government-level).

The state-level services on offer include that of Delhi (two services), Andhra Pradesh (13) and Odisha (15). The upcoming services include seven Central government and other services, 13 from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra (10), Delhi (six), and Haryana and Tamil Nadu (eight each).

Other States have been asked to link their services to the portal soon, and the aim is to integrate more than 200 services within a few years.

The focus now is on revamping this portal by identifying and removing glitches.

The thrust will be on quality by reducing the cost, time and processes involved, and ensuring greater transparency.

For instance, States have been asked to do away with the requirement of fees for services, wherever the fee involved is nominal.

The portal will also be soon shifted to an ‘open source multi-platform’ system/browser.

Also in the pipeline is a permanent account number (PAN)-based Business Identification Number (BIN) for firms.

This unique business ID will integrate about 18 identification numbers including the existing Company Identification Number.