In keeping with the new government’s thrust on information technology, the Economic Survey has advocated the use of a combination of Internet and self-certification for fast-tracking decision making, as a short-term measure to improve India’s business environment.
Other measures suggested include instituting a “use it or lose it” policy to free up unutilised land owned by large enterprises and PSUs, the creation of a Website that lists all rules and regulations applicable to businesses across states and the Centre, shifting data submission to the online mode wherever possible, and giving companies a compliance period rather than penalising them immediately for violations/shortcomings.
“The existing separation of land into commercial and residential plots is detrimental to setting up micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). One solution would be to designate land for mixed use and make it available to micro enterprises when they start out,” the survey said. “Another (solution) would be to create pre-approved blocks in new industrial zones, where permission for a wide variety of activities has been obtained.”
The survey also proposed that outdated regulations be identified, which could be junked entirely. Other steps proposed include introducing a novel coupon system to be made available to employers for short-term casual workers; the couple would come with a premium charged for social benefits such as provident fund, insurance and gratuity. This would eliminate the need to file multiple forms for these services.
“While the long-term solution is a wholesale revamping of the laws and regulations governing business, a number of steps can be taken in the short term, and a number of policy experiments could be initiated for the long term,” it said. “A committee could be constituted with the mandate to propose a more streamlined and modern set of laws, especially in the areas of taxation, labour, environment and safety.”