J&K presents bleak picture in ‘Business Reforms’

Pardeep Singh Bali

Jammu and Kashmir has been ranked among the low performing states in Business Reforms, the report of which was released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the World Bank Group.
The assessment report of State Implementation of Business Reforms 2015-16, ranked Jammu and Kashmir at 29th number with mere 5.93 percent score, performing better than only three states, viz Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Assessment studies the extent to which states have implemented DIPP’s 340-point Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) for States/UTs 2015-16, covering the period July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
The BRAP includes recommendations for reforms on 58 regulatory processes, policies, practices or procedures spread across 10 reform areas spanning the lifecycle of a typical business.
The 340 reform areas are broadly under categories including construction permit, environmental and labour registration, obtaining electricity connection, online tax-return filing, inspection reform, access to information and transparency, single window, land availability and commercial dispute resolution. The exercise is aimed at promoting competition among states with a view to improve business climate to attract domestic as well as foreign investments.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana shot ahead of Gujarat to grab the top spot in the business reforms ranking for 2016 released by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)
and World Bank on Monday.
While Andhra Pradesh moved up one space from its second ranking last year, Telangana’s ascent to the top was from the 13th position.
The ‘leading’ States that have achieved more than 90 per cent of reforms also include Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab.
The ‘aspiring leaders’ that have scored between 70 per cent and 90 per cent are Karnataka, UP, West Bengal and Bihar.
States where ‘acceleration is required’ (scored between 40 per cent and 70 per cent) as per the report include Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
The States scoring less than 40 per cent and needing a ‘jump start’ include Kerala, Goa, Tripura, Daman & Diu, Assam, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Puducherry, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, J&K, Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshwadeep.
Pertinently, Jammu and Kashmir enacted the Public Service Guarantee Act, 2011. The Act covers a number of services related to setting up of an industry/ business in the State.
The services range from that from commercial tax, power, PCB (under forest), to industries (EM-I/ EM-II).
The Act also lists punitive provisions for cases where service (s) is/ are not delivered within the stipulated timelines.
The DIPP report also suggests key initiatives necessary for future improvement, which included, Common Application Form, Implementation of an online Consent Management System for various pollution and environment related clearances and certificates, Defined clear timelines for provisioning of electricity, water and sewage connections and Implemented an online system for e-filing of returns and e-payments under VAT and CST.

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