UP’s EoDB progress mirrors the fable-of draught-stricken farmer who was prepared for the rains when they came

September 21, 2020 6:50 AM

The post-pandemic era for UP will bring rains and the seed sown by the current government will reap a rich harvest.

The next step was to implement EoDB enablers of providing access to information, transparency and single-window support.

By Achal Sharma
Two farmers, who were neighbours, were suffering financial distress due to many years of drought. Every season, they looked at their dry fields, waited for the rain and blamed God for their misfortune. When this suffering peaked, one of them started to plough. He took three days to plough his land and lay the seeds. The other farmer thought that his friend was wasting his energy and resources. He asked him the reason for doing so. The first farmer replied he was preparing his soil for rainfall. In a few days, the rains fell, but only one reaped a harvest. Why? Because he had prepared his ground and didn’t just wait for the rain.

Uttar Pradesh jumping 10 ranks to reach the second position on the list of states that have implemented the Ease of Doing Business Reforms is an example of the prepared farmer. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has surprised many with the aggression and sensitivities he brings with himself. This is also a reply from him to his adversaries who always thought the state would not do well under his leadership.

Ploughing the soil
Implementing 186 out of 187 EoDB reforms prescribed by the Centre in February 2019 is commendable. Implementing these in a year’s time would not have been possible unless the state government was already working on this. Before laying the ground for next plantation, this farmer had to burn the field; CM Adityanath did it by reducing crime. Controlling organised crime in the state was one of the first steps for bringing ease of business to the state. The next step was to implement EoDB enablers of providing access to information, transparency and single-window support.

Enabling Invest Mitra and other digital platforms was sound foundation-laying. Invest Mitra received nearly 2.3 lakh applications for NOCs in the last two years, and it efficiently cleared 94% of them. There are 73% satisfied customers on this portal. This unified portal is a transparent, one-stop solution for investor boarding and time-bound service-delivery. Every district was chased on EoDB preparedness, and the state ensured they were ranked on EoBD parameters. It digitised land transaction deeds of last 10 years at all sub-registrar offices and put it up online to facilitate checking of ownership details and history. In addition, other parameters were met for land transactions and records.

Online application systems were eased—for instance, easy online process for electrical connections. Over 20 departments/agencies—labour, pollution control board, commercial tax, power, food safety and drugs—were part of this. Effective implementation of EoDB reforms laid the ground for sowing of seeds.

Sowing the seeds
Developing infrastructure was another priority—investment in infrastructure rose 3-5 times compared to previous governments, and 100-150% of accrued funds were released for the infra sector; this was a huge support to industry. The state has a robust industrial infrastructure, including 15 industrial areas, 12 specialised parks, four growth centres and industrial infrastructure development centres (IIDC). As of February 2020, UP had 20 notified, 13 operational and 23 formally-approved SEZs.

Merchandise exports from the state reached $16.29 billion in 2018-19 and $12.82 billion in April-December 2019. In 2019 alone, 147 investment intentions worth Rs 16,799 crore ($2,200 million) were filed in UP. There has been a considerable rise in the number of industrial clusters/hubs and PPP projects in the infrastructure domain. Jewar airport project, defence corridor, etc, are some ground-breaking efforts to promote business. Laying these seeds is an important task done by the farmer preparing for the rain.

Rains will come
The pandemic has changed the landscape of business and societies. The UP CM is working relentlessly to ensure that the speed of execution is not slowed down. The post-pandemic era for UP will bring rains and the seed sown by the current government will reap a rich harvest.

 

Founder, CorePeelers
achalmsharma@gmail.com

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