Convinced that bolstering investments is key to efficient handling of the current complex political-economy, the UPA government has embarked on a many-pronged plan to remove irritants to potential investors and improve the countrys business environment.
Following a series of steps to promote financial savings and the plan to set up a National Investment Board to fast-track infrastructure projects, it has now made major headway in securing consent of most departments for an ambitious plan to set up a one-stop shop called the e-Biz project for investors to get various approvals, compliance certificates and make related payments.
According to sources, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) has approved the standard operating procedure of the e-Biz automated payment gateway and nine central government agencies, including the departments of industrial policy and promotion and labour, Employees State Insurance Corporation and the Central Board of Direct Taxes, have agreed to integrate their services with the project.
Sources added a clutch of other departments/agencies including the Central Board of Excise and Customs, corporate affairs, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, the Reserve Bank of India too are likely to join the platform shortly. Though the ministry of environment & forests refused to be part of the composite approval package, it has agreed to join through a hyperlink. Efforts are on to link land-related clearances and transactions.
As per a schedule finalised earlier this week following the crucial CGA nod, the project will be soft-launched in five states Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana in March 2013 where 160 services related to businesses and investors in these states will be integrated to the government-to-business (G2B) portal of the project.
The licence and permit wizard of the portal will also be ready for approvals and payments related to licences, permits and no-objection certificates, apart from information on the mandatory one-time approvals and details about periodic filings/compliances.
This will be followed by a full launch in these states in September when 18 central government services and 47 services in the five pilot states as well as a full-fledged payment gateway will be operational. In the next 10 years, over 200 services will be added. By June 2014, the project will cover Orissa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan also.
In the meantime, Infosys which is designing and developing the e-Biz platform has been asked to integrate the project with as many banks as possible, the