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Goa Inc wants new govt to arrest declining ease of doing business

In 2014-15, under the 98 Point Action Plan, Goa had implemented 21.74 per cent points and was placed at 18th rank. In the 2015-16 340-point Business Reform Action Plan assessment, Goa is placed at 21st rank with a very poor implementation rate of only 18.15 per cent. Goa has implemented just 61 action points and 275 remain to be attempted. The overall rank is not so important, what is really worrisome is the abysmally low rate of implementation.Goa is lagging behind on implementation of action points relating to following major areas as observed by the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) (See box).
“Prior to the setting up of the Investment Promotion Board (IPB), Goa had High Powered Coordination Committee (HPCC) and in those ten years of its existence, the investment climate in Goa was very gloomy and bleak. With the coming of IPB the situation has progressed positively from the ‘worst’ situation under HPCC. Nothing can be done overnight. Every process takes its time. The saddest part is that the majority of the bureaucracy is not aligned within government to promote investment. In fact, it took two years for the bureaucracy just to draft the role of IPB in Goa,” said Nitin Kunkoleinker, former IPB member and past President of GCCI.As compared to Goa, the state of Punjab has created IPB which has much more teeth and more power to take decision. “Here in Goa the IPB has numerous checks and balances but in Punjab all powers have been laid to its chairman the Chief Minister and the IPB board of Punjab. They can over-ride anyone. In Goa, IPB has received more flak politically and economy was bypassed. The challenge before the next government will be to create employment and develop the State. One needs to provide more teeth to the existing IPB,” added Mr Kunkoleinker.
Investment Promotion Board (IPB) approved projects worth Rs 8974.66 crore with a potential to generate 19,631 employment in the State, but the light of day is yet to be seen on ground. Out of the 126 projects which were cleared, 32 are Goa-based companies and about 53 are for Goa-based Goans. About a dozen projects and proposals were dropped. On a whole, about 60 per cent of all the projects cleared, belonged to Goans or to Goa based companies.President of Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Narayan Bandekar believes, “We are not much perturbed by the fact that Goa’s rank among the States has gone down from 19 to 21. What is really disturbing us is that Goa’s overall performance under the 340-point Business Reform Action Plan is just 18.15 per cent. The national implementation average stands at 48.93 per cent, significantly higher than last year’s national average of 32 per cent. This demonstrates the great progress made by most states this year and we have to judge our performance against this background. If Goa has to catch up with the rest of the states and emerge as a good investment destination, it has a lot of work to do on the ease of doing business front.”
Shekhar Sardessai, executive vice chairman and managing director of Kineco Limited, who also heads the CII chapter of Goa however said, “Goa took a forward looking and bold step by constituting a Goa Investment Promotion Board armed with single window powers. The objective was to facilitate the investment and improve the ease of doing business. I do believe, directionally the IPB is on the right track. However, I also do believe a lot more ought be done to enhance its effectiveness so that it is able to deliver the stated vision, mission and the objective of the Goa Investment Policy. Overall, I believe ease of business needs a big push.”
Mr Sardessai further suggested that he would like to see the IPB to focus on some key areas, which are (a) Empower the CEO and strengthen his team with some key professionals; (b) Get a complete buy-in from GIDC, EDC and other government departments which are important to facilitate and accelerate the investment process. Without this, ease of doing business and time from IPB approval to actual investment roll -out and employment generation will not improve; (C) There is a need for a professional satellite consultant to be in place to objectively vet out the proposals and make sure they are aligned to the objectives of the Goa Investment Policy. This will improve transparency and governance of IPB and help alleviate unwarranted criticism of IPB decisions; (d) Goa needs land banks to fuel further. Taking back the SEZ land is an absolute priority which should not be delayed any further. [H]

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