The Centre, in collaboration with State governments, plans to introduce a ‘One India’ concept, the biggest and the most comprehensive ‘ease of doing business’
initiative so far. Under the ‘one-form-one-portal’ model, aimed at attracting huge investments, the processes will be simplified to an extent where investors will need to fill only a single e-form for investing and doing business anywhere in India. Currently, firms are mandated to complete multiple forms at the Central and state-levels, and it gets more complicated as each state has different requirements and regulations. “We are working on what could be the world’s best single window clearance mechanism with an in-built information wizard that will help investors with the application processes,” a senior official said. “(In this regard), we have just begun talks with the states, and will soon hold discussions with the private sector and users of government services,” the official added. The proposed concept will also make it easy for investors to even change plans midway and shift projects to different locations in India where it is easier to do business. As an initial measure, a draft ‘Common Application Form’ is being circulated among states for their feedback, the sources said, adding that a few states have already accepted the concept. However, discussions will be held on possible exceptions, including on environment and security-related clearances.Incidentally, India was ranked a lowly 130th out of 189 economies in the World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business’ 2016 index. By bringing out reforms, the government aims to ensure that India gets a place in the top 50 soon. The Centre is already developing an eBiz project that is basically a government-to-business portal. The services offered under the portal — which firms and investors can use 24X7 online — are on starting, running and closing down a business. Introduced in January 2014, the portal has an integrated payment gateway and currently offers 17 pan-India services (at the Central government-level). The state-level services on offer include that of Delhi (two services), Andhra Pradesh (13) and Odisha (15). The upcoming services include seven Central government & other services, 13 from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra (10), Delhi (six) and Haryana & Tamil Nadu (eight each). Other states have been asked to link their services to the portal soon, and the aim was to integrate over 200 services within a few years. The focus now is on revamping this portal by identifying and removing glitches. The thrust will be on quality by reducing the cost, time and processes involved, and ensuring greater transparency. For instance, states have been asked to do away with the requirement of fees for services, wherever the fee involved is nominal — the logic being such processes will not earn much revenue, but eliminating them will simplify the process and attract more investments. The portal will also be soon shifted to an ‘open source multi-platform’ system/browser. Also in the pipeline is a permanent account number (PAN)-based Business Identification Number (BIN) for firms. This unique business ID will integrate around 18 such identification numbers including Company Identification Number. The Centre, however, plans to hold inter-ministerial talks on how such a BIN will work if a company has several establishments.