Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who held his second review meeting for the Make in Maharashtra initiative on Thursday, set a new target for his government: try and push the country into the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business survey within a year.
To achieve this, Fadnavis will lay down deadlines for every department and senior officials. Certain goals will be monitored by the chief secretary and some by the CM himself.
He also issued directives to the industries department to make provisions in law so that after non-agriculture permission has been given to start industrial activity on a plot of land, it cannot be kept vacant for more than five years. This is to ensure the land is not being hoarded for real estate.
“After getting approval, if industrial activity does not start on the land, then the developer should be penalised and the land should be given back to farmers or transferred to other industrialists. Some provisions should be made to ensure this,” Fadnavis told officials.
“It’s a target that we have set for ourselves and assured the CM. Our rank is 142 out of 189 countries, and we want to be in the top 50. All the departments have been asked to look at ways to cut back on the approvals needed or put them on a single platform. The state government is looking at legal amendments to do away with older laws that are no longer relevant,” said chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya.
Fadnavis has asked secretaries of all departments to study the no objection certificates (NOCs) required for starting construction or setting up industrial units, and weed out ones that are irrelevant, or reduce the time taken to give permissions.
For instance, the Tree Authority’s approval is mandatory for cutting trees, but it may take up to 90 days. To start any construction in Mumbai, one has to get NOCs from almost all departments.
One of the amendments being proposed is to see whether a fixed timeline can be kept for these NOCs, and if they are not granted, they can be considered as deemed clearances.
The civic body assured of cutting back permissions for construction from 25 to 16 in the first phase; industries department has scaled down one set of its clearances from 14 to 5 for now. The environment department has assured the CM that no approvals will be kept pending with the statutory committees appraising industrial and construction projects.