TN Business Facilitation Act - Will it facilitate EoDB ?
Tamil Nadu is the third largest economy in India with a current GSDP of Rs. 13,842 billion (US$220 billion). It ranked second as the most economically competitive Indian states based on selective criteria - macroeconomic stability, financial, business and manpower conditions, quality of life, infrastructure development and government factor in 2016. It is one of the three most preferred states for business investments and the state ranked second behind Maharashtra in GDP. Foreign investments attracted during the last five years is double that of the foreign investments from 2000 to 2011. The Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet in 2015 saw signing up investments for Rs.2.4 lakh crores from private investors across the globe. In spite of all the above positives in the previous years, Tamil Nadu ranked 18th this year as opposed to 12 the previous year, in terms of ease of doing business, according to the rankings of the States released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Being a pioneer in Business facilitation centuries ago, Madras Chamber has always been a strong proponent of ensuring Ease of doing business and good governance and we have been well articulating this in many of our forums and through our various activities. In fact the Chamber came up with a study report on “Manufacturing in Tamil Nadu- A Regulatory Roadmap” in 2014. The Study which covered nearly 100 industrial samples looked at various regulations like the labour, environment and taxation laws & how these regulatory processes impact the growth of manufacturing sector in the State. The study also outlined some of the short term and long term remedial measures both for the State and central Govt and one of the concluding recommendations we gave out to the State was to have a Single Business Act . We have also stated in our study that we should encourage more of self certifications, introduce electronic processes reducing human interfaces,ensure transparency in systems and e governance.
The Chamber also took on us an exclusive task of analyzing why the Tamil Nadu rank was slipping with regard to the EoDB and with the help of IMaCs, came out with our observations and suggestions and shared the same with the Guidance Bureau and Industrial Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
We are happy to see the culmination of our efforts when the much awaited demand of the Industry was addressed by the Government of Tamil Nadu recently by the launch of a Single Window Portal, and also promulgating the Business Facilitation Ordinance Through this single window, prospective investors can apply for various clearances from 11 departments and can get 37 government services without human interface. The portal would serve as distributing applications to the respective competent authorities, receiving electronic payment of fees from enterprises, ensuring submission of supporting documents. What is different with the earlier single window and the present one, is that this is backed by an Act and hence has more authority and credibility. There are clear timelines for various clearances and deemed approval is also spoken about.
The Chamber can take reasonable pride in being instrumental in making this come through. We have always felt that clear and implementable regulations with good governance would not only make things easy for businesses, but also would reduce corruption and malpractices.
The Single window system along with the Business Facilitation Act is really a big step towards boosting Industry confidence and Industrial Growth. When there is intense competition and aggressive campaigning among States such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka to attract investments, this move by the State Government is a welcome step which would benefit the existing and new industries. But equally important is the simplification of rules and existing procedures as otherwise mere electronic facilitation alone will not fully meet our objectives. Also the single window has to be holistic both for the existing and new enterprises and also for SMEs .
Let us recognise that the Business Facilitation Act and the Single window are steps in the right direction and we are confident that when implemented in letter and spirit, it would go a long way in heralding a new era of development in Tamil Nadu and position the State much higher in the EoDB rankings.
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New Year to every one of you