SRINAGAR: Enthusiastic support for a Business Action Reform Plan introduced this year by the Government of India in collaboration with the World Bank has led to Jammu and Kashmir climbing up nine positions among Indian states in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. J&K is now at 22nd rank, up from its earlier 31st spot. The rank is likely to go up further at the end of December, when the responses by Indian states to the Business Reform Action Plan are finally assessed.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, in collaboration with the World Bank brought out the Business Reform Action Plan this year. According to the document in possession of Kashmir Reader, 18 departments in J&K were set a target to bring in 372 reforms, of which 270 have already been cleared. The department of state industries, the fire and emergency department, and the commercial taxes department have led the race in introducing the reforms.
The Consumer Affairs and Law departments have also made significant changes. In contrast, the departments of Power Development, Revenue, Public Health Engineering, Public Works, and Forest have not started any significant reforms.
The departments have had to shift from the archaic to the online system, which will save a lot of time in getting government approvals. Now an aspiring entrepreneur will get all types of registrations online as also the issuance of various certificates, building permissions, inspections certificates and approvals.
“Earlier a businessman had to move from one department to another for registrations. This was consuming time and in some instances entrepreneurs had to leave a start-up midway. Now, all work will be online, and we are hopeful there will be significant improvement. The long-pending demand of the business community for single-window clearance has been achieved,” a top official in the state industries department said.
In the archaic system that is still being followed in many departments, businessmen are unable to reap the fruits of a number of government schemes, especially those of investment in public-private partnership mode.
The government’s idea to have business tycoon Anil Ambani set up a 1,000-seater call centre, with the potential to provide job opportunities to 3,000 youth, was a notable casualty of this archaic mode of functioning. Investments in hydropower and infrastructure have also not been made as businessmen did not find the system to be friendly.