A Look At Government’s Efforts To Improve India’s ‘Ease Of Doing Business’ Ranking

India ranks at a pathetic 142 among 189 countries when it comes to ease of doing business in India. And the government is taking certain efforts to improve this.
Some of the activities that are planned by Ministry of Commerce in near-term are:
1. Importer Exporter Code (IEC) application will mandatorily be online w.e.f. 1st January, 2015 and IEC will be issued within two working days. This would not only obviate the need for paper application but also expedite the decision making.
2. Service Delivery – Activities related to Developers and Units in SEZs were identified and timelines for completion of the said activities were prescribed and implemented. It was launched on 14.08.2014 in all Zones. This is being monitored by Development Commissioners regularly.
2. Digitization and online processing of various activities relating to SEZ Developers and Units has been introduced in all Zones from 01.11.2014. The option of either filing applications online or in hardcopy is available to Developers/Units till 31.12.2014. Thereafter, from 01.01.2015, only online applications for all activities (except for setting up of new SEZs) will be entertained from Developers and Units.
In order to reduce the number of documents for exports CBEC has taken measures to merge Foreign Exchange Control Form (SDF) with shipping bill and packing list with commercial invoice. Accordingly, necessary changes in the software would be made by 31st March, 2015. Further, in order to dispense with terminal handling receipt at JNPT, Ministry of Shipping would automate this activity by 31st January, 2015.
With these reform initiatives the mandatory documents required for exports would be reduced from seven at present to only three. Similarly, for the purposes of import, efforts are being made to reduce the mandatory documents from 10 at present to 4. An inter-ministerial team headed by DGFT is also visiting JNPT next week for understanding the various processes in the field and streamlining the same.