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One window to untie industry red tape

Patna, Dec. 6: The government is thinking of reviving the single-window system for clearing investment proposals, six years after the initiative was introduced but whose progress has been stuttered.

Principal secretary, industries, Naveen Verma told The Telegraph that streamlining of the single-window system was one of the top priorities of the government.

Sources said the system, introduced in the form of the Bihar Single Window Clearance Act in 2006, would be streamlined and set straight again by next year.

“The strengthening of the single-window system is on the anvil. Though the single-window cell still remains, its functioning is problem-ridden. The department plans to constitute a state-level committee to look into the issues and find ways so that the entire system is strengthened. More officers would shortly be deputed to the single-window cell and the department will also depute a nodal officer for its proper functioning,” Verma said.

Industry sources said care would be taken to ensure the system was free from any kind of red tape. “Stress would be laid to make it investor-friendly and it would be free from any kind of departmental hiccup,” another officer said.

Sources said that when Nitish Kumar was elected as Bihar’s chief minister in 2005, the government hit upon the idea of setting up a single-window system.

“The state government wanted to attract investors to the state. The Single Window Act of Punjab was studied and the Bihar Single Window Clearance Act was notified in 2006. The system was ‘one place clearance’. Any investor wishing to set up an industry has to run around different departments for clearances. The investor, at present, has to go to departments such as labour, sales and commercial tax, Bihar State Electricity Board and others, which consumes a lot of time. Under the single-window system, the investor just has to submit the documents at one place,” said Satyajeet Kumar, vice-president (eastern region), CII.

However, problems arose soon after. “Investors, even after getting their proposals cleared, had to run to different departments. Those departments and their heads didn’t recognise the clearance and demanded re-submission of documents. Hence, after almost a year of improper functioning, the system’s purpose was defeated,” Kumar said.

Investors are pinning hopes on the revival of the system. “There are many problems in the industry sector. There are instances of minor work remaining pending in different departments for which a businessman has to run around for years,” said Ashok Choudhary, who is into the food processing business.