States to be ranked on services delivery

Services notorious for bureaucratic delays have been included in ease of living rankings
Services notorious for bureaucratic delays have been included in ease of living rankings

Summary

DPIIT has proposed an equal weightage for both ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for rankings

The Centre has kicked off state-level consultations on its proposal to promote ease of living alongside ease of doing business, suggesting 94 parameters by which to judge the performance of states, according to government officials.

Parameters suggested by officials from the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) include a single-window portal and time-bound delivery for obtaining electricity, water and gas connections, driving licence and death and marriage certificates—services that are notorious for bureaucratic delays.

Mint has reviewed a copy of a presentation made to states last week, with the draft recommendations yet to be finalized.

DPIIT, the nodal department for the exercise, has proposed an equal weightage for both ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for rankings.

However, some states have opposed the move, first made in the budget proposals, saying they want to begin with a smaller weightage for the yet-to-be-introduced ease of living rankings.

“We need to create awareness about ease of living to citizens, who will be the respondents in the survey aware of this. Hence, it will be better if the Centre agrees to a smaller weightage of ease of living this time, and gradually increases it," said a state official.

Queries sent to a DPIIT spokesperson on Wednesday remained unanswered till press time.

With an equal focus on citizens and businesses, the latest version of the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) may include considerations such as an online dashboard to track applications, pendency and clearance on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. This, in turn, would highlight the number of certificates or licences issued and the average time taken for them. E-payment of utility bills such as electricity and water is among the 94 action points.

DPIIT secretary Anurag Jain, in an interview earlier this month, said that the 2022 states rankings would be done on a new “BRAP Plus" framework.

The proposed BRAP is expected to have 263 action points under Ease of Doing Business and 94 action points under Ease of Living, making for 357 action points. Ease of Living includes 11 reform areas—an online single window system, transport, employment exchange, ease of obtaining certificates, utility permits, cooking gas cylinder or piped connection, accessing public distribution system, healthcare, land administration and transfer of land and property.

DPIIT has also proposed a single-window portal for property registration, birth certificate, death certificate, health card, income certificate, driving licence and utility permits. Under Ease of Doing Business, it has proposed additional reforms pertaining to bio-medical waste management.

The ranking methodology will have three aspects—user survey by DPIIT, uploading of evidence on the website by states, and uploading of user data by states. States will be required to make submissions of evidence, assessment and upload user data between 1 September and October 2022. While the provisional rankings are aimed to be released between 1 and 10 January next year, the final positions will be announced on 26 January.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her budget speech earlier this month announced the launch of the next phase of Ease of Doing Business EODB 2.0 and Ease of Living.

She said that this phase would be guided by the active involvement of the states, digitization of manual processes and interventions, integration of the central and state-level systems through IT bridges, single-point access for all citizen-centric services, and standardization and removal of overlapping compliances.

States and the Centre have done away with more than 25,000 compliances, and another 3,000 compliances are under review for reduction this year.

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