Issues and solutions for Ease Of Doing Business

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (Goa) has compiled a list of important issues being faced by the industry and business community in Goa; and has suggested solutions to tackle these issues

As an initiative of the Indo- American Chamber of Commerce Goa, a committee was formed for suggestions on ‘Ease of Doing Business.’ The idea behind this was to get a pulse of the business community primarily to understand the challenges faced by them.

IACC-Goa has also tried to understand from the support group, the ‘solutions’ which will help businesses.

Keeping in mind the above agenda, a questionnaire was formulated and circulated to businessmen at large. Based on the feedback to the survey, the following points have been identified- the key issues and the proposed solutions.

I. Key Issues
1. Infrastructure like roads, water and power supply (especially in Industrial Estates): Many of the respondents from various industries have cited poor infrastructure including power supply as a major cost factor thereby making industry non-competitive. With the advent of alternative sources of energy and renewable sources such as solar, government should take adequate steps to strengthen the power supply situation by providing ample power supply at appropriate rate. Many roads in industrial estates are also in a pathetic condition. The need to repair and maintain of the roads are imperative.

2. Licences/Registrations/ Approvals/Renewals: In many cases, there is multiplicity of these AND at multiple points. Processes to obtain these are not fully clear. Validity is short. Renewal time sometimes takes several months, even a year.

3. Logistics within the State: Logistics in Goa becomes an issue; since Goa is a small state with spread out markets the cost of logistics is very high. There have been instances cited by people where cost of transporting from Mumbai
to Goa becomes cheaper but cost of transporting the same material from Pednem to Canacona is more.

4. Factories and Boilers: One of the common factors highlighted by majority of the industrialists is functioning
of this department and particularly the auditors appointed by them.

5. Key bodies/Corporations headed by Politicians: To understand real requirements and to have empathy toward
business people, key business forums need to be headed by experts rather than by politicians. Such experts will be able to understand, appreciate, and help them solve the problems thereby making the processes faster and more

6. Files referred to Politicians: Files being referred to politicians in the normal course of approvals etc. is incorrect.
Politicians/legislators should decide on policy matters and then leave the implementation thereof to bureaucrats. Processes, rules, and regulations should be clearly defined and objective.

7. Issues regarding digital interface: Though a digital interface has been provided by the government, it appears from the survey that the same is not working efficiently. The people are made to upload their documents online and then go and present them physically. Or, some other kind of physical interface is required which defeats the purpose of the digital interface.

8. Delayed government payment despite receiver being L1: If in a government contract a bidder is L1, he is left with a very low margin. Often, the payments are not made in time by the government which causes loss to the said bidder. Payment timeline should be strictly adhered to with deadlines.

9. Tendering process is questionable: As per many respondents, the terms and conditions of many tenders are to a large extent framed in a way that only a section of bidders/contractors are qualified! It is very critical to create a level playing field where good and fair practices are adopted.

10. Corruption in most aspects: This was highlighted by majority of respondents to the survey.

11. Communication between Industry and Government: This needs to be more comprehensive and at quarterly intervals. This will sort out many issues.

II. Suggestions/Solutions:
1. Clear procedure and single window: There should be clarity as to what data is expected to be submitted by the businessman and clear procedure for the same. This clarity can be either on the digital platform or a helpline etc.
Preferably a single window or at least ‘minimum windows’ should be stipulated for obtaining or renewing various type of licences/approvals, etc.

2. Time limit for clearance of applications for licences, etc: For all procedures in the government, there should be a stage-wise turnaround time (TAT) duly specified. Also there should be visibility to the applicant in terms of the progress.

3. Auto escalation of non-completed tasks: The government should have a matrix of auto escalation to the senior officers for each non-completed task (in the specified time frame). Such escalation will encourage the dealing officer to dispose of the application expeditiously; otherwise the matter will be escalated automatically (by way of report along with reasons) to his senior. Such reports will be open to ‘right to information.’ Industry has experienced delay of more than 1 year even for renewal of some licences.

4. Logistics: There is a serious requirement of (a) excellent local logistics for Goods, and also (b) Transport services round the clock for passengers particularly in Industrial estates.

5. Implementation of existing rules and regulations and Acts:  Some regulations and rules that already exist to help businesses are not implemented to its full potential. An example of this is the Right to Services Act which has been passed but not implemented in letter and spirit.

6. Simplifying of processes: Government should create a depository (already available Digital Locker) where a comprehensive set of documents can be stored and shared with respective departments, who could draw the required ones from there.

7. Digitised Land Records: This will bring very good clarity and will reduce litigation.

8. RND jetty on hire: Reportedly, Goa already has the distinction of having the first marine cluster in Goa. Access to jetty/length and capacity of RND Jetty on hire to industry can help scale up the ship building industry significantly.

9. Unregulated exhibitions: Are a major loss caused to local business and also to the exchequer. Most of the time
commercial taxes are not paid by participants in such exhibitions, while the taxpaying businessman face the brunt of ‘loss of sale’

10. Industrial Development Corporation Rules: Simple and transparent rules are required for example for
transfer of shed/land and sublease of IDC land etc.

11. Reduce number of licences: Study each licence/renewal and try to reduce these by 25%.

12. Increase periodicity of renewal of licences: Increase the periodicity of renewal to a minimum 5 years.

13. Industries advisory task force (Most Important): The government must have an ‘Industries advisory task force.’ This body should have as its members: presidents of all top industrial bodies, and also industries secretary, etc.
Chairman should be from private sector, who can drive the solutions/reforms, etc.

Justification for this ‘Advisory’ body is as below:
13.1 Industrial development & investment promotion cannot be left to the officers of the government since most of them are busy (multiple responsibilities) for most of the time, or get transferred soon.

In view of this, the Task Force can monitor, drive and guide the said development and promotional effort, with all combined experience and expertise of all top trade bodies eg. GCCI, GSIA, CII, etc.

The task force can even guide how to promote Goa: nationally or internationally.

13.2 Any new big industry proposing to start in Goa can meet this Task Force for broad guidance, direction, etc.

13.3 Task Force can provide the Government a vision for investment / industries development for the next 10 years

13.4 This Task Force can plan broad infrastructural requirements of power, manpower, water, land, etc. for Goa for the next decade.

13.5 Constantly monitor by quarterly review meetings: Issues of industry, ease of doing business etc.

13.6 Communication and relations between industry and Government will increase manifold.

13.7 This task force can guide the government on job creation, which is a top priority.

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