Punjab moved up a notch and was placed 19th in ease of doing business as per the Business Reform Action Plan 2019 rankings report released by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday. The state fared worse than neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, which jumped 7th rank from 16th last year, and Haryana, which was ranked 16th after slipping from 3rd rank it held earlier.
In the region, Rajasthan which was at number nine last year, improved ranking by a notch and was placed at number 8. Jammu and Kashmir improved from its rank number 22 last year to 21 this year. Chandigarh remained at number 29 as it was last year.
In 2015-16, Punjab was ranked at number 16 with an implementation score of 36.73 percent against the national average of 32 percent on 285 Business Reforms Action Plan (BRAP) points. In 2016-17, State’s rank in ease of doing business improved to number 12 among the States and UTs when the State achieved implementation score of 91.07 percent against the national average of 48.9 percent on 340 BRAP points. The rank of Punjab came down in subsequent year 2017-18 to number 20 as it registered an implementation score of 53.92 percent as compared to national average of 60.2 percent on 372 BRAP points.
While Punjab Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora expressed satisfaction at the ranking, Director Industries Sibin C told The Indian Express that they would lodge an objection with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as they were dissatisfied with the ranking.
“We expected that Punjab would be among top 10 states in ease of doing business,” he said.
Sibin said as compared to national average of 65.4 percent based on 187 BRAP points this year, Punjab’s implementation score was “hundred percent”.
The rankings are based on 12 reform areas, feedback from users, fulfilling 80 comprehensive recommendations and 143 out of 187 score points adjudged on a score from 1 to 5. The exercise covered 17 departments.
“Of the 187 key parameters on which the states are assessed, 178 were approved as implemented and nine were “not applicable” for the state. Now, on the dashboard, I can see Lakshdweep doing better than Punjab, Karnataka and Haryana by jumping 19 ranks even though it has not worked on a single parameter. We need to take it up,” he said.
Sibin said Punjab achieved 100 per cent compliance in all the 12 business regulatory areas namely access to information and transparency, construction permit, contract enforcement, environmental registration, inspection, labour regulation, land administration and transfer of land and property, land availability and allotment, obtaining utility permits, paying taxes, sector specific and single window system, where compliance lacked in varied proportions ranging from zero percent to 93 percent in last assessment.
The industries minister, however, said they were doing better. “Although there was a jump of only one place, it is not bad. Look at Haryana. It has slipped from 3rd position to 16th. We have at least done better than our earlier ranking, that too amid Covid-19 pandemic. We have brought in many reforms. We have finished the Inspector Raj by making everything available to an industrialist through a single window,” Arora said.
He said Punjab would provide a much better environment to the industry once the Covid-19 pandemic was over. “During these times, it is good to retain the ranking and not slip like Haryana,” he added.