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Increasing Ease Of Doing Business (Part 1): What Has Been Done So Far

India in all its glorious potential to be a leading economic powerhouse surpassing China and the rest is still very complicated to do business in and with. Corporate leaders and senior government officials get together to discuss how policies should be shaped going forward to further increase Ease of Doing Business (EoDB). Here’s what policymakers have achieved so far.

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Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), began the discussion by outlining what steps the government has taken so far to increase EoDB.

“High priority has been given for the past two and a half years to create an environment that is easy to do business in. For too long have we made things extremely complex instead of easy. There are too many physical touch points and they are being dismantled. We hope to keep leveraging the internet and other technology all the while inspecting to make sure it is risk-safe.”

For example, obtaining occupancy permit from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi should now take only up to thirty days while submitting completion notice to obtain occupancy certificate and certificate of completion from Municipal authorities of Mumbai should take only one day to complete.

“In the last few decades we have established a court for insolvency and bankruptcy, and two years back commercial courts were sanctioned for proactive enforcement of contracts. In the next one year there will be more commercial courts, paperless e-summons and uploading of sign orders. Moving forward we hope to make India the hub of arbitration for international business.

For trading across borders, customs have a single window interface for swift processing; one can interact with six major agencies in this one window. For FDIs, most sectors can apply for automatic processing and only deals in a few sectors must go to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Other endeavors include Inc29 for faster company registration and of course GST revision. One state owes 3000 crore to a company in tax returns. Ideally it would be best to not collect the tax at all instead of refunding. GST should solve problems like this.

While the World Bank’s ease of doing business report only measures along ten parameters, We (DIPP) rank states by 340 parameters, and compared to last year most of the states have shown improvement. We hope with at least quarterly discussions with all stakeholders we can come up with policies that will move us into the top 50 of the World Bank’s ease of doing business world rankings.”

More policy initiatives

Ms. Chandrima Sinha, Vice President, Invest India, said, “We hand hold through the entire investment cycle, we are the Indian arm for ‘Make in India’ to help investors setup business. Invest India is an example of reforms in action, we are possible only because of reforms. We are the policy advocates, the voice of the investor in this large environment. We aim to reduce uncertainty especially a foreign investor would face and reduce the paperwork needed for doing business.

One company we helped was Karbonn, including facilitating meetings with a state’s officials, identifying what regulations to meet for example in obtaining land, building, water and electricity permits. Through our work, the state government of Haryana has been able to create 1800 jobs.”

Mr. R.K Upadhyay, director of the Virtual Network Operators Association of India (VNOAI) said, “It may not seem like much but in the past two years two successful spectrum auctions have taken place and we are making the spectrum aspect sufficient and efficient.

VNO policy came out in May 2016 policy while VNO association members have been advocating for it for the past 15 years so it’s long overdue.

There are about 1500 VNO players, but no VNO in operation as yet. Many have obtained licenses from DoT. So this will probably change soon given further proliferation of telecom and broadband connectivity to ruralities and niche markets.”

These views were shared at the India Telecom conference.

This year’s India Telecom conference ran under the theme, “Transforming India” and took a serious look at what needed to be done by policy makers and all stakeholders to tip India over its prevailing barriers to become an economy and a nation of people ready to tap the best of the digital era. The conference was jointly organized by the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India, and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Experts across the IT ecosystem, both local and international – government officials, regulatory authorities, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and academicians presented their side of the story to reformers and policy makers at India’s leading international ICT dialogue taking place under the theme, “Transforming India.”

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