State 17th in ease of doing business

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
With merely 23.95 per cent overall implementation of various “ease of doing business” (EoDB) initiatives, Himachal has been listed at 17th position after Haryana and Punjab in the Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms Report.
Himachal was among 16 other states which needed jump start. The 98-point action plan on EoDB, which is aimed at increasing transparency and efficiency of various regulatory functions, have taken into account reforms introduced by the state till June 30.
An analysis of the report indicates that the state government has barely introduced entry-level online procedures while those involving execution of business projects in various stages were yet to be dealt with.
The state government did have a single window clearance agency which gives preliminary approval to all new industrial projects, but it does not have clear time limit for various clearances. Even the grievance redressal system supposed to be adopted after failure to get time-bound services is supposed to have timelines.
In the absence of time-bound mechanism, the clearance system stretches for months, delaying initiation of business.
The state has also introduced a single application form (SAF) which is a lengthy 45-page document requiring plethora of documents. Though it is supposed to streamline the need for entrepreneurs to submit the information multiple times, its lengthy requirements have failed to simplify the procedure. This has failed to fetch any positive point for the state.
The state government had not even introduced a legislation, as required under the EoDB, to mandate the validity of the SAF thus reducing its utility.
The state did not have an effective single window clearance system where all clearances are sought online without re-directing a user to a department’s website or through a manual hard-copy process.
Crucial issues which ease the taxation system such as issuing a single ID for various purposes at the state level for VAT, CST, Entry tax, Entertainment tax, Luxury tax, etc., were also yet to implemented.
Though officials claim to have set up land banks, the state has failed to score any point on this account as specific information such as availability of land and industries permissible on a particular land failed to be available online.
Failure to provide information such as procedures involved in allotment of land within laid timelines was another area which failed to fetch any positive score to the state. This was despite the fact that the government claims to provide 90-day clearance to industrial units and 45-day clearance under Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972 to land buyers.
With issues such as digitalization of land records, online registration of various labour acts, obtaining time-bound utility services, etc, yet to be implemented in totality, the state government is at a nascent stage in EoDB initiatives.
Director Industries Rajinder Singh said various initiatives were in various stages of being implemented and since proposals worth crores were being approved in single-window clearances, it was an illustration of the investor-friendly ambience provided in the state.