The Punjab government on Thursday said it has unleashed a set of reforms to further reduce regulatory burden on MSMEs through rationalisation and digitalisation, aiming to enable entrepreneurs to focus on expanding their operations amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The reforms on building flexibility and reducing oversight in the labour rules, and pursuing a data driven assessment of service delivery delays are all centered around making entrepreneurship easier in Punjab, said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in an official statement here.
He underlined his government's commitment to reduce time, risk, and cost associated with compliance significantly, freeing up entrepreneurs to focus on growth.
The chief minister said with these reforms, commitments had been set for future changes, including rationalising trade license with Shops and Establishments Act and removing imprisonment terms from 100 low risk provisions in non-labour related rules.
Besides, he announced that the number of labour registers will be reduced, requiring an entrepreneur to maintain from 60 to less than 14, and flexibility enhanced in hiring women employees.
Discretionary powers of inspectors are being removed with regard to deductions related to absence or leave. These changes will be incorporated in the new state rules, he said.
To ensure timely delivery of key licenses and permits, the government has begun a monthly data driven assessment mechanism under the Chief Secretary to make sure not a single license or permit is delayed beyond the stipulated period.
It is also proposed to reduce the number of pre-commissioning licenses and NOCs to start a business by at least 20 per cent, so the government never inhibits an entrepreneur to start a new shop or factory, with the possibility of doing this entirely online being explored, as per the statement.
In addition, changes will be made in Land Use for starting new business and mechanisms will be developed for timely and hassle-free water, electricity and sewage connections.
"These reforms are the start of a journey, and we hope to make Punjab a lighthouse state for MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) growth support, he said, adding, We have listened to entrepreneurs on the ground and we will continue to reduce the compliance burden to start, operate, and grow a business.
He stated Punjab offers one of the best ecosystems for entrepreneurs to thrive.
Under his government, Punjab has emerged as a hub for its unique business-friendly ecosystem that promotes entrepreneurship and attracts entrepreneurs from all the corners of the world. The evidence of the same is the receipt of investment of about Rs 80,000 crore with proposed employment of 3 lakh individuals, in the last 4 years, he said.
Notably, Punjab has a strong industrial base of over 2 lakh MSMEs.