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To encourage Mumbai’s image as a hospitable city for business growth, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has planned a business development cell to ease the experience of conducting business here.
According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index for 2009-2013, currently, Mumbai ranks 134. In fact, Bangladesh (130), Nepal (105), China (96) and Sri Lanka (85) have fared better on the index.
“We have to improve our global ranking so that we continue to attract new business. Normally, we help businesses on a case-to-case basis. In the present system, it takes about two to three years to set up a business here before the company can stabilise itself in the market. Within this span of time, there are rising inflation and interest rates. Mumbai is a business city and the local governing body must actively work to keep up its competitive edge. This is especially important as we can see fast-paced growth in other cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas.
Under the current system, for registration and various licensing works, businesses must interact and coordinate at the local ward-level and with specific civic departments located across Mumbai.
“The BMC wants to be a proactive player in this transformation. We felt there is an urgent need to restructure this into a single-window system so that local and international businesses are not caught up in bureaucracy and red-tape,” Srinivas said.
The business development cell, set to be a small ‘smart’ department of urban planners, designers, and engineers, will analyse the administration of civic services from a business and financial angle. As part of its scope of work, it will identify infrastructure gaps at growing business districts to plan and coordinate with governing agencies to facilitate a better working atmosphere in the city.
Special planning policies will be created for such districts while one of the major concerns the department will address is connectivity to transport infrastructure and removal of traffic bottlenecks.
Presently, the BMC is toying with the concept of ‘Walk to Work’, which encourages homes near offices. “We are studying upcoming business districts in areas such as Lower Parel and Andheri. With increased population movement in these parts, we will have to conceive infrastructure facilities such as 24×7 water and power supply, night-time eateries, etc. Our civic services should be able to support 24-hour business models,” Srinivas said.