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Govt to streamline procedures, cut time

The Govt to constitute an expert group to thrash out the contours of a new system to hasten procedures and enable speedier statutory clearances for projects, reports Gaurav Choudhury.
Hindustan Times | By Gaurav Choudhury, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 09:45 PM IST

The government would constitute an expert group to thrash out the contours of a new system to hasten procedures and enable speedier statutory clearances for projects.

“The finance minister would constitute an expert group to go into the system of statutory clearances for industrial and infrastructure projects and suggest concrete ways to speed these up,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.

Last year, the commerce and industry ministry had sought details from various departments on the progress made on several cumbersome procedural issues that afflict business startups in India.

The move came after a rap on the knuckles by the World Bank which pointed out that starting business in India was difficult because of lengthy, complicated and time consuming procedures.

Sources said the government has developed a model where 11 procedures such as approval of name and memorandum and articles of association, obtaining permanent account numbers, registration for value added tax etc, are now completed in 16 days instead of 35 days as pointed out by the report.

On registration of property, another time consuming issue in India, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has been assigned the job of developing a model for reducing time and procedure

Analysts said hastening the process of statutory clearances would ensure faster project execution.

“In infrastructure projects, environment, land acquisition and land-use clearances, which are statutory, take up a lot of time and hastening these procedures would certainly help,” Harsh Srivastava, vice president of Feeback Ventures, infrastructure project consultancy firm, said.

The World Bank has been publishing a report tiled “Doing Business” comparing almost all global economies in terms of ease of doing business on various parameters.

While doing business India has become easier over the last few years, India was still ranked at 120 among 178 economies.

The rankings are based on 10 indicators of business regulation that track the time and cost to meet government requirements in business start-up, operation, trade, taxation, and closure.

India’s ranking is lower than that of Maldives (60), Pakistan (76), Bangladesh (107), Sri Lanka (101), Nepal (111), and Bhutan (119) and ahead only of Afghanistan (159), in the South Asian region.

In a 2006, a Committee of Secretaries ( CoS) had directed several follow-up action on the procedural bottlenecks and sources said the expert group would also examine these suggestions.

“The government is working with the World Bank Group to initiate reforms in the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Delhi in the first phase, focusing on indicators such as starting a business, dealing with licenses, registering property, trading across borders and paying taxes,” the source said.

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