Ease of doing business: After it slumped to 28th position, Kerala seeks clarity on ranking criteria

Ease of doing business: After it slumped to 28th position, Kerala seeks clarity on ranking criteria
File Photo: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

After Kerala saw it placed among the laggards at 28th position in the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) rankings 2019 put together by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade on September 5, a miffed Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has approached the Centre seeking details of the criteria that dictated the rank.

The EoDB ranking, as published on the website of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), did not reveal either the criteria adopted for scoring and ranking or disclose the feedback from the states and UTs, according to S Harikishore, Managing Director, KSIDC.

As the states nodal agency for industrial promotion, KSIDC has approached the Centre seeking the details in this regard, Harikishore said.

Ease of Doing Business (EODB) is a joint initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the World Bank to improve the overall business environment in the States.

85 per cent of missions accomplished

As per the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) of 2019, each state had to complete 187 missions.

Of these, Kerala has accomplished 157 missions, which comes to 85 per cent of the mandated missions. Details in this regard are, however, not available on the website that put out the ranking, Harikishore said.

Lakshadweep, which has not carried out any reforms as cited on EoDB website, has been ranked 15th, Harikishore pointed out.

Several criteria announced by DPIIT for EoDB ranking based on BRAP in 2018-19 have been changed in the current ranking, the official claimed. For instance, the North-eastern States and UTs have been considered together in the current ranking, he said.

Steady and systematic progress

For the last four years, Kerala has made steady and systematic progress in formulating and implementing reforms suggested under BRAP.

The record of Kerala in securing the goals set by the Centre in this regard has steadily increased---percentage figures from 2015-16: 22.8 per cent,2016-17: 26.9 per cent, 2017-18: 52.56 per cent, and 2018-19: 85 per cent.

Kerala government has drawn up and proactively implemented a slew of innovative measures during this period to make the state industry-friendly.

Some of the major steps taken by the government in the last three years included announcement of an investor-friendly industrial policy that has created the most conducive ecosystem for industrialists and service providers.

As many as seven Acts have been amended to bring in the comprehensive Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act-2018, which has made the investment process fast and transparent, he said.

Other reform-oriented initiatives that have substantially improved industrial and business atmosphere for multiple sectors and categories included the enactment of Kerala Micro Small Medium Enterprises Facilitation Act-2019, which has considerably eased the investment procedures, including pollution control clearances.

Single Window Clearance Board fast-tracked processes

Kerala State Single Window Clearance Board and Industrial Township Area Development Act was a decisive step forward that fast-tracked the investment process across the sectors.

Over 100 projects were showcased at the global investor meet ASCEND Kerala 2020 held in Kochi in January, where major investment decisions were clinched from entrepreneurs from India and abroad converged at the conclave.

During this period, the state also launched the Invest Kerala portal and Kerala Single Window Interface for Fast and Transparent Clearance (K-Swift).

Kerala has also made considerable progress in key parameters such as digital connectivity, skill development and infrastructure development.

Since 2016, as many as 52,137 MSME enterprises have been started in Kerala, which accounts for 40 per cent of all businesses the state has in this job-generating sector.

The state has clocked an estimated investment of Rs 4,500 crore in MSME sector alone, which itself vouch for the strides made by Kerala in industrialisation, the official added.

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