Egged on by the Centre to improve their business environment, states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have entered into a race to woo industries by adopting a multi-pronged strategy to improve ease of doing business.
The states have initiated the process of amending labour laws, making services delivery time-bound and pruning the procedures for getting permits like that for construction and getting electricity.
Senior officials The Indian Express spoke to, detailed the measures taken by the state governments to score highly in the ranking to be done by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) in May-June.
Topping the chart is Maharashtra, which has reduced the days taken for getting electricity and construction permits from 67 to seven and 162 to 60, respectively. It has also combined application for registration of state taxes while doing away with physical verification of documents pertaining to sales tax. “We have now started accepting online payments for electricity and cut down the processes from 7 to 3. The procedures for construction permit have been cut down from 27 to 11. Certification by professional architect for low-risk building has been allowed and we are amending the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) act to reduce the fees charged for low-risk building,”
Apurva Chandra, principal secretary, industries, Maharashtra, said adding that a mobile app has been launched for payment of property taxes.
Similarly, Madhya Pradesh has simplified labour laws, exempted MSMEs from certain labour laws and allowed third-party architects for the construction sector. A senior official said that the state government is applying the five-point rule for improving the ease of doing business. “We are asking each department – Can you do away with the procedure? Can you give it to a third party? If not, can you make it online? If you have made it online, can you further simplify it? If you have put it online and simplified it, can you fix a timeline for it? This is helping us zero in on areas where there is a scope for improvement,” the official added.
Its neighbours in the north and east, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, have also embarked the band wagon of providing an investor-friendly regime. Claiming that his state is likely to rank in the top four positions, Chhattisgarh’s commerce and industry secretary Subodh Kumar Singh said that the state has certified 600 engineers for third-party inspections while allowing third-party verification in boilers. “If the work is not completed within the timeline, it is deemed to be approved. Mining rules have also been amended. Now storage license is given for 10 years and environmental clearance timeline has been increased from one to 5 years,” Singh added.
Uttar Pradesh is also working on reforms in sectors such as power, pollution control and labour. Chief secretary Alok Ranjan said, “We had set up a task force four months ago. It has made considerable progress. VAT has already been made online while the power department has been given time till April 30 to make approvals time-bound. Now no inspection of boilers can be carried out without the approval from the district magistrate. April 30 is the deadline for all departments.”
Ranjan added that the state will soon have only one form for approvals from five departments — industry, power, labour, pollution control and commercial taxes.