HT Chandigarh Our Take: The making of a business-friendly city
Chandigarh, the much-pampered Capital of two states and India’s first planned city is, surprisingly, not a great place for business. It shared rank 29, same as last year (2017-18), in the fourth edition of Business Reform Action Plan rankings for 2019, released by the Union finance minister in New Delhi last week.
Chandigarh tied with the eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim and Tripura at the 29th position.
Andhra Pradesh topped the rankings, with Uttar Pradesh at second and Telangana at third positions in the rankings, launched in 2015 to introduce healthy business competition among states and UTs and attract investments for increased ease of doing business.
Of the 187 reforms in The Business Reform Action Plan 2018-19, availability of land, environmental registration enablers, labour regulation enablers, and single-window system, Chandigarh implemented nine. These included points under access to information, getting electricity connection and environment.
Local industry players who are disappointed with the rankings say all stakeholders have to be consulted to chalk out business-friendly measures.
They have also called for implementation of the Chandigarh Industrial Policy 2015. Major issues faced by the industry are non-conversion of leasehold industrial plots to freehold and no increase in floor area ratio.
The Covid-19 scenario has also hit businesses hard with manufacturing on hold during the lockdown and the migrant exodus.
Calling for major impetus from the government in the short and long term, businesses have sought relief from tax and duties and moratorium on loans.
The Centre needs to take Chandigarh’s unique position in the scheme of things. With its manufacturing activities restricted to small zones such as Industrial Area and huge land costs as well as expensive rentals make doing business here a difficult proposition.
Carving out more space for new businesses, creating a one-window system for approvals and permits, discounts on use of electricity and water, and an additional stimulus package is the need of the hour, with industries guaranteeing adherence to labour- and environmental friendly norms.
Desperate measures are needed in desperate times. UT authorities need to work on the problem minutely to see how the city gets back on track business-wise again.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: RIGHT STEPS
What should be done for ease of doing business in Chandigarh?
What steps should be taken to make Chandigarh a business-friendly city? Send your responses with a photograph to Chandigarh@hindustantimes.com by September 18.