While presenting the Budget estimates for 2016-17, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief Ajoy Mehta made several references to the ease of doing business in Mumbai.
Mehta, who allocated Rs 10 crore for the Smart City project and increased overall capital expenditure, emphasised reforms that have been undertaken to speed up the grant of building projects.
“The building permit process has been recast by reducing number of permissions required and making the system transparent, predictable and fixing responsibility at various levels. This is an ongoing process and in the current year, we intend to completely IT-enable it and generate reports to facilitate better monitoring and greater transparency,” said Mehta in his budget speech.
Mumbai’s Draft Development Plan 20134 is being revised with an eye on ease of doing business.
“It is, therefore, looking at simplifying the process of permission for development. This will lead to rationalisation of premiums,” he added.
This re-look at building permit system comes at a time when the city aspires to become an international financial hub.
According to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2016, Mumbai lags on aspects when it comes to grant of construction permits.
For instance, it takes 40 procedures to build a warehouse in the city compared to just 28 for Delhi and 13 for high income countries.
Similarly, the cost of getting a construction permit is one-quarter of the total costs of building a warehouse in Mumbai compared to 1.7% for cities in advanced economies.
If Mumbai aspires to compete with the likes of Singapore and Shanghai as an international financial hub, these reforms are just the start. There is much more to be done.