Mumbai’s new real estate makeover plan may help India ascend ease of doing business ranks
With just three months to go before the World Bank’s annual “ease of doing business” rankings are announced, India is working overtime to ensure it can improve on last year’s ranking. Last year, India had broken into the top 100 for the first time and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying that ‘India can do even better and enter the top 50’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the jump in India’s ranking “historic”, and said it was a result of an “all-around and multi-sectoral reform push”.
However, if India intends to climb further ahead on the index, it will depend on its two biggest cities, Mumbai and Delhi, since the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings for India is based on data collected from Mumbai and Delhi.
Last year, for instance, India’s steep rise on the index was largely down to the re-engineering of the building approval system in Mumbai, said a report on The Indian Express.
And this year, the government is banking upon the next set of reforms for expediting building permits in Mumbai to help it rise in the World Bank’s estimate. Accordingly, NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will chair a meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday, where the duo will review the roll-out plan at length.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has tried to introduce reforms in order to simplify the task of approving tenders and permissions. It has built a single window clearance facility, saying this would mean interested parties will no longer need to visit multiple windows and seek individual permits, but can get them all under one roof.
The Indian Express report had said this would reduce the average time taken to complete the cycle down to just 60 days. Speaking of this plan, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta was quoted as saying, “We have designed a common online application form for all approvals. The building permit will now be issued online with a digital signature. A developer or an architect won’t need to visit any department or office.”
In fact, the civic body had already introduced a new portal, One MCGM GIS, whereby citizens of the city can check details of the progress of road projects or utilities, details of taxes paid, etc on the app or the website.
For example, as reported by Hindustan Times in December last year, users who are interested to know about road projects need to fill in the relevant information and can get all the details about utilities running through the area and their status. Developers taking up construction work can also access information about existing pipeline networks to avoid damages, the report added.
“A no-objection certificate for any project and remarks and responses on files are moved parallelly between departments, which takes 22 days. When all the information is made available on one portal, remarks will be automated, which will reduce the time,” the BMC presentation had said.