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No Green Light For E-Biz Portal
Ministry of environment and forests not willing to comply with the concept of single-window clearance under eBiz portal
The environment ministry has thrown a spanner in the works of the commerce ministry's initiative to launch an online single window for making it easier to do business in India, a move that is reminiscent of its earlier solitary resistance to the National Investment Board. An official familiar with the matter told ET that the ministry of environment and forests is not willing to comply with the concept of single-window clearance under the eBiz portal, which is designed to provide a platform to businesses to apply for licences from and pay the application fee to all ministries and departments concerned at one go. With the environment ministry asking for a separate application, the entire purpose of single-window clearance will be defeated. It is really unfortunate. We are in talks with them, said the official, who did not wish to be named. The environment ministry has offered a link on the portal, which is expected to debut in April, to direct the applicants to its own website where they will be required to apply separately. What is the point of having a single portal when businesses will have to apply separately for another set of clearance the official asked. A senior environment ministry official expressed surprise at the developments.The environment ministry had presented its view at a meeting of the environment and commerce ministries called by the prime ministers office last year and its views were accepted, he said. Principal Secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji had even written to the two ministries confirming that commerce ministry's portal will provide a link to the environment ministry's portal, he added. As a regulator, it presents a conflict of interest to be a part of a business portal. We have a separate portal ENVIS and a link will be provided to this portal on the commerce ministry portal, environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan told ET. The portal has been designed to obviate the need to fill in multiple forms to avail services from various government agencies. In the first year of the portals three-yearlong pilot phase, 29 services are set to be linked in Andhra, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. India is ranked 132nd on World Banks rankings of 185 countries on the parameter of ease of doing business because of the tedious process of seeking clearances. While commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has been promoting the portal, the environment ministry's demand threatens to dampen the enthusiasm generated by the project.
Economic Times, New Delhi, 22-02-2013