Andhra Pradesh has been chosen as the first state in the country where the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), part of the Union Commerce Ministry, will implement its ambitious e-Biz-integrated Single Window project, aimed at providing efficient, convenient, transparent and integrated electronic services to investors and industries. The e-Biz project was initiated in 2004, but this will be the first pilot effort after nine years of planning. It is expected to start from September 1.
Andhra Pradesh has been chosen because it was the first state in the country to implement, in 2002, the Single Window (SW) Act, which provides for single window delivery of a host of services.
This was one of the most interesting revelations made by Rajat Kumar, Commissioner of Industries, government of Andhra Pradesh, while addressing a FICCI workshop on 'Empowering India - the Manufacturing Mandate', during the session which discussed the business regulatory environment. "Since AP already has the SW Act in place, it will be combined with the e-Biz portal. There will be 40 services covered under the e-Biz project of which 13 will be central services, 21 common state services and six will be AP services. It's a collaboration of the state govt and central govt," Kumar said.
Similar pilot projects will subsequently be tried out in four other states - Haryana, Delhi, Maharastra and Tamil Nadu - over a period of 10 years.
Kumar maintained that 400,000 people in Andhra Pradesh had so far obtained employment because of this Act. "The single window clearance committee is headed by the chief secretary," said Kumar. "The state investment promotion board (SIPB), which reviews projects, is headed by the chief minister. The Single Window clearance committee clears around 18 services such as building plan approvals, power feasibility of projects, power connections for projects, pollution-related clearances, allotment of land, tax registration, etc. Between 2007 and 2012 it cleared 81 per cent of all applications to the state level nodal agencies, at the district level, it cleared 95 per cent of them in the same period."
The Andhra Pradesh government has also set up an industrial investment promotion cell in the Commissioner of Industries, apart from an industry information desk and facilitation officers. He added that time schedules for rendering services under the Single Window Act ranged from seven days to about a month. "The inclusion of technology will accentuate accountability and bring in more transparency, along with policy prescriptions to curb corruption," he said.
Among other states, Rajasthan has also implemented its own Single Window Act, in 2011. Siddharth Mahajan, Commissioner (Investment and NRIs), Bureau of Investment Promotion, Government of Rajasthan, said, "The Act promises time-bound clearance for 86 processes. It also creates a unique ID for every request. In the last two years, we have received proposals worth Rs 20,000 crore through this system, of which a large portion has got approvals."
"The e-Biz project is not a conventional project," said Talleen Kumar, Joint Secretary, DIPP. "We have looked at 198 services. The project will allow users to file up applications online through a composite application form (CAF). With the integrated payment option where Central Bank of India will debit the amount and route the challan, which will facilitate easy applications for permits, and for approvals to get started."