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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Govt reviving eBiz-like portal to cut red tape

A software vendor will be selected next month to set up the portal for regulatory clearances

NEW DELHI : The Centre is working to build a single-window platform, integrating central and state government regulatory clearances, almost two years after shutting down a similar UPA-era initiative.

A senior government official with knowledge of the matter, seeking anonymity, said the proposed portal is more or less in line with the government-to-business eBiz portal developed by Infosys Ltd, which was launched in January 2013. “It was a decision taken at that time. We have to move forward and use the learning from the earlier portal," the official said when he was asked whether shutting down the portal was a mistake.

A second official, who was involved in setting up the eBiz portal, said he was not sure why the government had shut it down and is now building it from scratch. “The portal had integrated almost 20 central government services and was moving ahead to integrate state-level services," he said, also requesting anonymity.

The first official said a software vendor will be selected in September for the new portal and within six months of the launch, all central government services will be made available on it. “State government services will be added gradually after that," the official said.

After the NDA government came to power in May 2014, it latched on to the eBiz idea for improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s doing business ranking. In his first budget speech on 10 July 2014, the then finance minister, Arun Jaitley, had announced that all government services will be made available on the portal by 31 December 2014.

In February 2015, Jaitley, along with the then commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and World Bank country director Onno Ruhl, added 11 new central government services on the eBiz platform to offer 14 services. However, the portal saw the last update on 18 June 2015.

The government recalled the usefulness of the portal in December 2016 after a disappointing improvement in India’s ranking in the doing business survey by just one notch to 130. In a high-level meeting of six ministers, Jaitley had then finalized an eight-point strategy to realize the target of taking India’s doing business ranking to the top 50.

The first step was to make the eBiz portal mandatory for starting a business, including three functions of the ministry of corporate affairs—registration for PAN (permanent account number) and TAN (tax deduction account number) and registration for Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Employees’ State Insurance Corp. However, the portal never took off.

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