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Friday, Sep 13, 2002

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Bid to improve efficiency — Industries dept to cut costs through rationalisation

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THE Department of Industries and Commerce (DIC) hopes to effect considerable reduction in administrative expenditure by adopting rationalisation of Plan schemes it had been operating to promote industrial development in the State.

The Department has, through elimination and merger of schemes, brought down the number of such Plan schemes from 54 to 19, which it had been operating in the large and medium industries. However, the Department is studying the possibility of further rationalisation and mergers to bring all Plan schemes under five broad categories as suggested by a functional review made by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

The exercise is part of the move to reduce fiscal deficit in the State Budget and infuse higher productivity to realise the goals of better productivity and improve the financial health of the State.

The plan follows the Administrative Reforms Commission's (ARC) recommendations to adopt steps to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the Department and to enhance its procedural transparency. The five broad categories cover areas such as assistance to public sector undertakings/ corporations, boards and quasi government institutions, infrastructure support, modernisation technology and training, publicity promotion and development and special component plan and tribal sub-plan.

"We are in the process of working out the details," says a note prepared by the Industries Department giving its views of the ARC's recommendations.

The functional review has also suggested a review of existing delegation of financial and administrative powers to field formations as well as outsourcing of certain functions, introduction of electronic commerce and IT applications and single window facilitation for inter-departmental co-ordination.

The Department was already working on these areas through initiatives such as deregulation of business environment, launching of service delivery portal for the Department and strengthening of the inter-departmental coordination and single window agency mechanism through the Industry Facilitation Bill, which was adopted by the Assembly in its monsoon session last month.

Some of the important features of the new legislation is that the Government has been vested with powers to frame rules with regard to various issues from filling up application forms for the use of entrepreneurs to project clearance from the relevant agencies of the Government without having to depend on general guidelines of the Central Government. The State Government is also empowered to simplify the procedures in regard to self-certification in the form of an undertaking by the entrepreneur at the time of submitting the combined application forms.

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