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EXCLUSIVE | Centre Embarks on Expanded ‘Ease of Doing Business' Ratings for States This Year

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Up to 1.62 lakh private users including companies, lawyers, architects, CAs could be surveyed regarding 301 action reforms.

The government is embarking on an exercise much bigger in scale this year to determine which states emerge as the best in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, with both the parameters and the feedback exercise being more expansive, News18 has learnt from government officials.

Up to 1.62 lakh private sector users could be surveyed in July by an agency appointed by the government to determine whether these users felt on the ground the impact of the business reforms implemented by the states. The exercise will cover 301 reform actions spelt out by the Centre last year in as many as 45 regulatory areas & sub-areas. The agency would be contacting at least two percent of total private sector users who have dealt with the states between November 2020 and April 2021, which could mean a range between 32,400 and 1.62 lakh users.

The ambit of this exercise will be hence much bigger than last year when the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings of the states covered about 30,000 respondents and included 180 reform points under 12 regulatory areas. The agency this year will contact a representative sample of private users on telephone and through e-mail with a questionnaire to assess their feedback. The users would include lawyers, architects, chartered accountants, private companies and individuals who dealt with states.

Last year, Andhra Pradesh had topped the rankings, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

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The Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) spearheads the state-level business reforms in India under its Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) each year and evaluates and ranks them. The BRAP outlines the list of reforms required to be implemented by states.

The next ranking of states will be based solely on a comprehensive business-to-government (B2G) feedback exercise on 301 reforms, where user will validate the implementation of reforms claimed by the States and UTs, the government has said in a document reviewed by News18.

States have been asked to share the population of users who have used the reformed services between November 2020 and April 2021 and a sample of 2% of total user database submitted by States will be taken for conducting interviews. “The questionnaire will not be shared with states or UTs before the feedback exercise. The survey will be conducted in all states and UTs in India. Details of users will be anonymous, and submissions will not be shared with States and UTs,” the document says.

The agency doing the survey is expected to maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality and anonymity with regards to the respondent base in undertaking this survey, “given the sensitivity of this survey and its results,” the document says. Ranking of States based on the implementation of Business Reform Action Plan started in the year 2015.

UP improved from Rank 12 in 2018 to Rank 2 in 2019 to emerge as the top improver, followed by Himachal Pradesh which rose to Rank 7.

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