Single-window system for better governance

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Hamara Arunachal… the largest state in the Northeast and also one of the least developed states of the country. Arunachal is one of the special category states and is largely dependent on central assistance for plan investment. As per official reports, Arunachal Pradesh continues to remain a poor state with inadequate basic infrastructure and low economic growth. The state is lagging far behind even in comparison to other northeastern states in most of the indices of socioeconomic development. Despite being rich in natural resources, the state is unable to harness its vast potential like hydropower, tourism, agri-horticulture, etc.

Many innovative and positive steps have been initiated for better governance and ease of doing business, like Sarkar Aapke Dwar, e-office, e-ILP, e-Gras, etc. However, many challenges remain to be addressed. One of the prime requirements is a single-window clearance system for all new projects, renewals, licences, etc. Presently there are too many windows.

For example, for trade licence, one has to visit and follow up many offices like trade & commerce branch, police station/SP office (police verification), treasury office for stamp papers/challans, banks for challan deposits, magistrate for affidavit, etc. Imagine a potential investor/business generator travelling from remote villages for many days for issuance of trade licence! For many projects/licences, there is need to visit other offices like municipal office, forest office, pollution office, tax & excise, etc. In a few cases, one has to travel to Itanagar/Naharlagun many times for clearances since the offices are situated there. It is estimated that for most new projects, investors have to spend 10-15 percent of project cost on these initial procedures/clearances only.

Multiple windows lead to increased bureaucracy vide increase in numbers of clearances (offices) required, further leading to time delays and amplified expenditures for implementation of projects. These time delays and increased expenditures due multiple windows demoralise and discourage potential investors, thus leading to slower economic growth of the state. Many states have simplified all these clearances/procedures by introducing a truly single-window system. A potential investor needs to submit necessary documents to a single office (single window). Thereafter, all the necessary clearances from other branches/offices are obtained by that office itself, thereby expediting project implementation. These can be simplified by initiating and implementing e-Office in all offices. In fact, in a few states, OSDs are attached for clearances of special/big projects, so that production may start at the earliest.

A truly single-window system will act as a force-multiplier, boosting economic progress and generating more employment in the state. Single-window system may revolutionalize ease of doing business in the state and accelerate the path towards economic self-reliance.

With Independence Day approaching, especially under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav marking 75 years of independence, it is time to initiate steps to transform into a economically independent state. Do you want a single-window system? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)