Amid India’s push to be recognised globally as an attractive business and investment destination with responsive reforms across the country, an assessment of India’s states and Union Territories based on implementation of Business Reforms Action Plan for the year 2020 shows Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Telangana as top achievers.
The assessment report under BRAP 2020 released on Thursday (30 June) by Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT is an important indicator of the ease of doing business being carried out across the country in spirit of competitive and collaborative federalism.
“The reforms now taking place are responsive reforms. Unlike the reforms of 1991, which were given to us for implementation, there is no compulsion now,” the Finance Minister said after the launch.
In its fifth edition of the assessment exercise, the BRAP 2020 has placed Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in the achievers category.
While Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan and West Bengal have made it to the Aspirers category, the states of Andaman and Nicobar, Bihar, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Puducherry and Tripura have distinguished themselves in the category of the ‘Emerging Business Ecosystems’.
The assessment process has discarded the model of ranking states since the difference between various states/UTs was quite small, and instead put them in various categories, according to Secretary, DPIIT Anurag Jain.
The BRAP 2020 includes 301 reform points covering 15 business regulatory areas such as access to information, single window system, labour, environment, land administration and transfer of land and property, utility permits and others. Besides, 118 new reforms have been included to further augment the reform process.
For the first time, the assessment has been done on the parametre of sectoral reforms with 72 action points spread across 9 sectors namely trade license, healthcare, legal metrology, cinema halls, hospitality, fire NoC, telecom, movie shooting and tourism were introduced for the first time to expand the scope of reform agenda.
Though India embraced reforms in 1991, ushering in successive decades of far reaching changes and modifications in the way business needs to be done and globalising in sync with world practices, the nature of reforms have since undergone significant changes.
As Sitharaman pointed out, India has successfully experimented with reforms that are responsive, without any compulsion and driven by the objective to bring out improvement in systems and ensure better lives for all.
Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the reforms acquired a thrust in 2014 on improving the ease of doing business and over the years the process has involved a conscious effort to involve all stakeholders, including the states and UTs, in the larger endeavour at the international level for improving India’s ranking.
The idea, as Goyal pointed out, has been to “get them on board so that people really feel the difference and change in their ecosystem, which will lead to ease of living”. Matters have evolved further with the ease of doing business spreading beyond a few areas, cities and businesses to encompass the whole country through the spirit of competitive federalism and also of collaboration, according to the Commerce and Industry Minister.
“An element of nudge has been brought into every layer of the government. Nudging cannot be by the government only and the industry has a big role to play there,” the Finance Minister said, highlighting another shift in the way reform and ease of doing business is now oriented.
The assessment of states based on their performance in the implementation of BRAP is expected to boost investor confidence, foster business friendly climate and augment ease of doing business across the country by introducing an element of healthy competition.
The creation of four categories in assessing the states/UTs is also expected to create an enabling framework wherein learnings can be shared amongst states/UTs which in turn will lead to a nationwide spill over of good practices.
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