Business Reforms

Soon after NDA Government took office, the Prime Minister launched ambitious Ease of Doing Business Initiative. The real purpose of the initiative was to enhance India’s competitiveness and improve the business environment in the country. Ever since, the Prime Minister has been laying emphasis on widening the scope of domestic and external business to maximum limits, as this is the one important measure of strengthening the economy of the country. In fact, the Prime Minister wanted to apply the experience he had gained in this area when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
In December 2014, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of Union Government organized a workshop in New Delhi to discuss the 98-point Action Plan for business reforms. The State Governments participated in the discussions and agreed to the Action Plan.  The DIPP identified the issues, which the State Governments had agreed to address in order to make the project a success.   At that time, DIPP conveyed to the States including Jammu and Kashmir that it would carry out assessment of implementation of business reforms during the period between January 1 and June 30, 2015. Eight major points were identified to measure the progress of the States.
In pursuance of that decision, the DIPP has recently carried out All India Assessment of Business Reforms and J&K State has secured 29th rank. The assessment report about J&K states that the State has yet not laid required focus on implementing the key points of the Action Plan vis-à-vis Prime Minister’s ambitious Ease of Doing Business Initiative. Reports are that the State has not been able to implement the Action Plan as was desired. Neither the State level Apex Committee nor the Monitoring Committee has taken any initiative to address the issues identified by the DIPP. Out of eight points highlighted by the DIPP, the State Government has attempted only four of them and even these four are still incomplete. Actually, the State Government had constituted an Apex Committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary for carrying out the business reforms. The Apex Committee was supposed to meet once in a month and the Monitoring Committee headed by the Financial Commissioner Industries and Commerce was to meet once in two weeks. The Apex Committee met once and the Monitoring Committee has not met during past quite long time. This clearly indicates that the State Government gives very low priority to the issue of bringing about business reforms in the State. The Government does not need to be educated on the importance of the reforms in business management with the clear purpose of making business as smooth as possible and removing the bottlenecks wherever these exist. Lethargy and insensitivity towards national interests are the bane of our bureaucracy. It is the duty of the Government to educate the cadres on some crucial activities like trade and commerce. We cannot make any tangible progress as long as obsolete and obstructive rules remain hindrance to smooth and brisk business.
One thing that has become a routine for the coalition is of constituting committees on all and sundry issues. Committees do have advisory role and we cannot underestimate the need for the Government to have comprehensive report on different matters. However, if constituting of committees becomes the means of shifting the blame, then one can say that it is not at all in the interests of good administration not to take a decision on spot and pass it on to committee, which may or may not meet since there is no accountability on that count. If the heads of the committees have no time at their disposal to examine and discuss a particular matter and take a decision or submit a report, what is the purpose of constituting such committees? It is exercising in futility and as such, the lesser the number of committee the better. Alternatively, the committees whenever constituted must be given specific period within which they will submit their report.


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