Interview

Nivesh Mitra: Bolstering Rise of Uttar Pradesh in Ease Of Doing Business

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More than 34,000 enterprises have been registered on Nivesh Mitra to get required NOC/licenses. We are providing completely online end-to-end 70 services across 20 departments through the single window system, says Dr Rakesh Varma, Special Secretary, Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Joint Executive Director, Udyog Bandhu, Uttar Pradesh, in an interview with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).

Dr R Varma

Dr Rakesh Varma, Special Secretary, Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh

Can you please elaborate on the progress made by Uttar Pradesh in Ease of Doing Business during the past few years?

With the recently concluded evaluation of the Business Reform Action Plan 2017, Uttar Pradesh has become one of the high achieving states in the country. Securing the 12th position in the 2017 evaluation, the state has jumped two positions from 14th in 2016.

The state has been categorised as an “Achiever State” with a combined score of 92.89 percent by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

We have been consistently performing upwards starting with 47.37 percent in 2015 to 84.52 percent in 2016 to 92.89 percent in 2017-18.

We have come a long way and continuously aspire to be a leading state in the Ease of Doing Business Index.

Can you name few departments wherein you think the State has implemented Ease of Doing Business reforms?

Uttar Pradesh has implemented Ease of Doing Business (EODB) reforms in around 23 departments and government agencies which are directly related to starting and operating businesses. These include Commercial Tax, Energy, Excise, Food Safety and Drug Administration, Fire Services, Forest, Housing and Urban Planning, Labour, Law, Pollution Control Board, Registrar-Firms and Societies, Revenue, Stamp and Registration, Transport, Urban Development, Weights and Measures, Public Works Department (PWD), Pradeshiya Industrial & Investment Corporation of UP (PICUP), Lok Seva, UP State Industrial Development Authority (UPSIDC), Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority, Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority and Noida Authority Industrial Development Authority.

Please highlight few key reform areas wherein according to you Uttar Pradesh has done a remarkable job?

I would like to highlight five key reform areas where the state has done remarkable job as part of the Ease of Doing business exercise.

As identified by DPIIT, Government of India, Uttar Pradesh has been among the top five top performing states in six of the 12 reform areas, namely:

  • Single Window System
  • Land Availability & Allotment
  • Environmental Registration Enablers
  • Obtaining Utility Permits
  • Paying Taxes
  • Access to Information & Transparency Enablers

What are the features of Nivesh Mitra, the Single Window System?

Nivesh Mitra is an online single window clearance system which provides No Objection Certificates (NOCs), clearances, etc required for setting up and running a business in UP.

We have further strengthened our single window portal to enable online application submission from anywhere anytime through a Common Application Form. This enhanced version of Nivesh Mitra was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on February 21, 2018.

Also Read: Rediscover the idea of being in Uttar Pradesh

Currently, we are providing more than 70 services (NOC/clearances) of 20 government departments. We are further in the process to integrate around 30 more services with Nivesh Mitra portal.

Comprehensive checklists, procedures for applying, departmental procedure for grant for all pre- and post establishment NOCs, licenses, registrations and other mandatory approvals have been made available online on Nivesh Mitra to improve access and transparency.

It’s a completely end-to-end online system which acts as a one-stop solution for online application, consolidated fee payment and monitoring the status.

The system has provision to download final approved digitally signed certificates/licenses. It also has a feature of online third party verification of certification/licenses.

Have you devised any mechanism to know what and how many types of approvals are required to start/operate a business?

Yes, we have come up with an online tool called ‘Know your Approvals’. This facility is available on our Nivesh Mitra, single window portal. Through it an investor can identify what all approvals/ NOCs/licenses are required to start or operate a business in Uttar Pradesh post answering few basic questions on the nature of business.

Can you please elaborate on Nivesh Mitra’s achievements till now?

As on February 19, 2019, we had received more than 29,000 total applications on Nivesh Mitra since the launch of the single window system around a year ago on February 21, 2018.

Out of this, more than 22,000 applications have been granted approvals (NOC issued) while remaining applications are well within stipulated timelines.

More than 34,000 enterprises have been registered on Nivesh Mitra to get required NOC/licenses. We are providing completely online end-toend 70 services across 20 departments through the single window system.

In addition to this, we have further taken several measures to strengthen our single window clearance process, which are as follows:

  • We have mandated that the applications are to be accepted on Nivesh Mitra only, No manual/ offline application shall be accepted. Even applications are not allowed through concerned departmental portal. All applications have to be completed through online single window portal only.
  • Departments have been asked to make completely online system starting with online application to online fee payment to final digitally signed NOC clearance.
  • Department can only seek queries once within seven days of receiving the application not more than that.
  • All services are bounded with Janhit Guarantee Act to meet the stipulated timeline in granting these services.

Please highlight few reforms implemented in the area of land allotment and land records?

To begin with, we have made a provision for online land allotment and building map approvals through the Nivesh Mitra portal, wherein UPSIDA, NOIDA, Greater Noida and Yamuna expressway Industrial Development Authorities are being provided these services through our single window system only.

Further, we have made available online the information regarding availability of land banks for industrial use at one place.

Land records of the last three years at all land record offices have been digitised and are available online in public domain.

Valid master plans/zonal plans/land use plans for all urban areas have also been made available online in public domain. Land record databases have been integrated with judicial database (revenue) to provide a complete picture of current land disputes.

Besides these, property registration and verification process has also been made easy and is available online.

Please highlight few reforms implemented in the area of labour reforms?

In the area of labour reforms, we have mandated online single integrated return filing under all labour laws third party certification for boilers inspection by authorising Boiler Operation Engineer (BoE)–Labour Regulation Enabler.

Final registration is granted within one day from the date of application under Shop & Establishment Act.

In order to avoid unnecessary hassle to businesses, the department has also mandated that inspections (except in case of complaint-based inspections) shall be limited to the checklist only.

These are some of key areas wherein the Labour Department of the state has done a remarkable job.

Getting electricity connection is another area which is closely associated to our businesses. What are the measures have been taken in this area?

First of all, we have eased out on the requirement of number of documents in obtaining an electricity connection. Now only two documents are required for obtaining the connection.

In case of getting ‘Right of Way’ approval, electrical connections for all voltages along with Electrical Safety Department and PWD is provided within seven days where ROW is not required and within 15 days where ROW is required.

Data related to past and planned outages (for next one month in advance) are being displayed on the department portal for all DISCOMs to notify businesses in planning their work accordingly.

Conducting Inspections have also been part of area of concern for many businesses. What have you done to make inspection process business-friendly?

To increase transparency in identification of cases, computerised risk-based inspection process has been implemented in critical departments such as Forest, Housing, Labour, Pollution Control Board, etc.

Now online and randomised allocations of inspectors are being done through system. Online availability of inspection reports within 48 hours of the inspection have been made mandatory.

In addition, departments have also mandated inspections to be limited to the checklist only. So, these are the key steps which we believe are going to be instrumental in reinstating inspection process in the state.

Getting pollution related licenses are also considered as critical for any businesses. Can you please elaborate on action taken to strengthen UP Pollution Control Board services?

UP Pollution Control Board has implemented “Online Consent Management and Monitoring System (OCMMS)” to offer online service for Consent to Establishment (COE), Consent to Operate (CTO) under the Water and Air/Hazardous Act. Now you can directly avail these services through Online on Nivesh Mitra. This system has reduced the application processing time by about 50 percent.

Getting tree felling related permissions are also considered as an area of concern. Can you please elaborate on the steps taken to address it?

The Forest Department has already mandated that all tree species on arable holdings/intractable except 16 (10 species found naturally) in 46 districts are exempted for cutting, i.e. there is no need of tree felling permission.

Besides this, online tree felling permission and tree transmit related permission are also being provided through the online single window system.

What have you done to support pharma and drug industry in Uttar Pradesh? Can you please throw some light on that?

The Food Safety and Drug Administration department has created an online system to grant NOC for drug retail/wholesale licences. These services are already being provided through Nivesh Mitra portal.

But now the department has further developed an online system for obtaining licenses for drug manufacturing which is in the process to be integrated with Nivesh Mitra. This online facility will ensure that there are no physical touch-points for our pharma and drug manufacturing investors.

Has the government taken any step to ensure timely resolution of disputes arising out of commercial contracts/ transactions?

The Government of Uttar Pradesh has already notified 13 commercial courts to be set up in major industrial districts. In this regard, five commercial courts in Lucknow, Kanpur, Faizabad, Aligarh and Moradabad have already been setup.

Paying taxes is another area where industries seek support from the government. Can you please elaborate on this?

As mandated by the Government of India, under tax enabler area for Goods and Services Tax Act (GST), the Government of Uttar Pradesh has constituted an authority for advance ruling/appellate authority under the State Goods Service Tax and has published details of application procedure and checklist on the department’s website.

The department has also set up service centres to assist taxpayers in e-filing of returns under the GST Act.

The department has also established a helpline providing basic services such as assisting users in preparing and filing returns under the GST Act.

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