12 states on track towards ease of doing business: Sitharaman

About 12 states have fulfilled 75 per cent of the requirements to improve ease of doing business but others are still lacking in this regard.

Speaking at an investors summit organised by industry body Confederation of Indian Industry, Commerce and Industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while 12 states have shown good progress in fulfilling steps laid down by the Centre to improve ease of doing business, others are still lagging.

As of Thursday, Uttarakhand occupies the top spot in terms of implementing policies to facilitate ease of doing business, followed by Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Telengana and Madhya Pradesh.

The results are based on an online dashboard prepared by the Department of Industrial policy and Promotion (DIPP) which tracks the implementation on a real time basis.

Originally conceived under the Make In India campaign, a 98-point action plan for improving the regulatory framework for business at the state level was prepared by the DIPP in December 2014.

Subsequently, a wider action plan was released in September 2015 covering 340 points. States are bound to implement the reforms on time and submit their responses to clarifications sought by the DIPP. The final date for submission, earlier slated for August 31, has been extended to September 30.

The dashboard showed that among states, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya had a score of zero on a scale of 100, creating doubts about how businesses and industries will reach states traditionally weak in this regard.

Business Standard had earlier reported how state officials are under pressure to perform because the dashboard is tracked by the public. The dashboard updates its rankings every time a response is validated by the DIPP.

The business reform action plan covers 10 areas like access to information, transparency enablers and land availability. Departments like commercial tax, energy, labour and environment have been covered. India provides evidence to the World Bank on the ease of doing business as it seeks to break into the list of top 100 countries. This year's rankings will be announced in October. Last month, a team of researchers spent two weeks in Delhi and Mumbai talking to stakeholders to study the implementation of reforms.

India currently ranks 130 in the World Banks global rankings in this regard.

Specific areas the DIPP has targeted are starting a business, insolvency procedures, construction permits, ease of trade and electricity connections. According to the DIPP, the total number of days required to start a business has been reduced to 12 from 29 in the previous year.

Speaking at the same event, DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek said domestic businesses have been harassed long enough by inspector raj and the government is facilitating all it can to dismantle it completely.

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