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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Sitharaman

Guwahati: Assam has been kept in the Aspirers category, while Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura have been clubbed under the Emerging Business Ecosystems category.

Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman announced the assessment of states/UTs under the Business Reforms Action Plan (BRAP) 2020, the 5th edition of the BRAP exercise in New Delhi, on Thursday.

The broader aim is to boost investor confidence, foster a business-friendly climate and augment the Ease of Doing Business across the country by introducing an element of healthy competition through a system of assessing states based on their performance in the implementation of the Business Reforms Action Plan.

The BRAP 2020 includes 301 reform points covering 15 business regulatory areas such as Access to Information, Single Window System, Labour, Environment, Land Administration & Transfer of Land and Property, Utility Permits and others.

118 new reforms were included to further augment the reform process. Sectoral reforms with 72 action points spread across 9 sectors namely trade license, healthcare, legal metrology, cinema halls, hospitality, fire NOC, telecom, movie shooting and tourism were introduced for the first time to expand the scope of the reform agenda.

Feedback could not be obtained for Sikkim, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh due to insufficient user data.

Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are the top achievers based on the implementation of Business Reforms Action Plan. Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh figure under the Achievers category.

While Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan and West Bengal have been placed in the Aspirers category, Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Puducherry and Tripura have been clubbed under the Emerging Business Ecosystems category.

The announcements were made in the presence of Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles,  Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT, and Senior Government officials of State and UT administration.

Speaking after the release of assessment report, Sitharaman said the nature of reforms had undergone change since 1991. “The reforms now taking place are responsive reforms. Unlike the reforms of 1991, which were given to us for implementation, there is no compulsion now. The objective is to see what will bring out improvement in systems and ensure better lives for us. An element of nudge has been brought into every layer of the government. Nudging can not be by the government only and the industry has a big role to play there,” the finance minister said.

She appreciated the changes brought in the assessment framework of implementation under the Business Reforms Action Plan over years.

Speaking at the event, Piyush Goyal said the assessment has evolved from evidence-based to 100% feedback in multilingual format. He said the purpose of this BRAP exercise is to infuse a culture of learning from each other’s best practices and improve upon the business climate in each State/UT with a unified objective for India to emerge as a most favoured Investment Destination across the globe.

“When the Prime Minister gave the thrust in 2014 to improving the ease of doing business, one of his major thrust areas was that while we are working at the international level to improve our ranking, we must involve all the stakeholders, including the states and UTs, in our effort to get them on board so that people really feel the difference and change in their ecosystem, which will lead to ease of living,” Goyal said.

“The process that was started in 2014 has started bearing fruit as we go along. Rather than being limited to a few areas, few cities and few businesses, we are seeing the ease of doing business being reflected across the country through the spirit of competitive federalism and also of collaboration,” the Commerce & Industry minister added.

Secretary, DPIIT, Anurag Jain said the difference between various states/UTs was so small that it did not make sense to rank them but rather put them in various categories.

In a departure from the previous years, this year the states have been placed under the four categories viz. Top Achievers, Achievers, Aspirers and Emerging Business Ecosystems. The objective is not to create a hierarchy but an enabling framework wherein learnings can be shared amongst states/UTs.

The assessment gives full weightage to the feedback obtained from actual users/respondents at the ground level.

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