15 May 2022  |   06:22am IST


Industry bodies have been constantly seeking better processes for starting and running businesses in the State.

This was one of the principal demands of the trade and industry associations that wanted the new government to provide a conducive business environment that will give Goa a higher rank in the ease of doing business ratings, where Goa’s position has been dropping in recent years. Industry has often grumbled about the processes that have to be completed to start any new business enterprise. That Goa needs some transformation in this was acknowledged by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant last week, when he said that to attract investors and industries in the State there is a need for ease of doing business and suggested giving permissions to new investors and industries within a month and a half of an application being filed. His reasoning is that if such a facility is provided, the number of industries coming to Goa will increase. 

There is no faulting the argument on this count, as one of the main issues that has kept new industry at bay are the prolonged processes involved. This is a statement from the Chief Minister and it has to be converted into action. In October 2019, when the State hosted the first Vibrant Goa Expo and Summit, the Chief Minister, two days before the inaugural of the expo, had assured that the Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board would act as a single window for investors in the State. What he had said at that time was that investors would only have to submit proposals to the IPB and once the project was cleared within 15 days, they would get the construction licence within a month. It was a 45-day period the Chief Minister had spoken of some 30 months ago. There appears to have been no progress on this since that time, or else why the need of a similar statement again?

More than statements, industry needs action from the government and delivery on the assurances given. There are too many bottlenecks on the path of a smooth entry for industry. It does not help that unrelated procedural matters also hamper the smooth functioning of government bodies, especially when those are dealing with investment and industry promotion. Last week the government reopened the online single window application system of the Goa Investment, Promotion and Facilitation Board, that had been put on freeze mode in January-March in view of the election code of conduct. For four months the window had remained closed. How does this facilitate the ease of doing business? Shouldn’t the window have been opened soon after the code of conduct was lifted on the election process ending? These are very simple procedural matters that should not be delayed. Goa lost two extra months with the single window remaining closed after the code of conduct ended.

Besides the ease of doing business, industry-related associations had also sought a corruption-free environment in the State and suggested that professionals be appointed to run industry related bodies rather than political persons. On this, the latter especially, there has been no positive response from the government, though both remain valid suggestions. The professional element in the functioning of government bodies would assist in giving Goa a better ease of doing business ranking, which Goa has been plagued with for the last few years. The drop in ratings clearly indicates that the environment for business promotion and investment is not conducive in Goa. A first step has been taken in the form of an announcement, the next steps are now crucial to make it happen. That will depend on just how serious the government is in walking the talk. If it does it will be easy to ease doing business in Goa.


Idhar Udhar