Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the responsibility for ease for doing business in the country does not lie solely with the Centre. The States, municipalities, and even the panchayats are equally responsible.

The Finance Minister was interacting with students from various parts of the country studying here under the banner ‘Yuva Shakti Samvad’.

In response to a question, Sitharaman said that ease of doing business is a shared responsibility among the Centre, States civic/local bodies, and the panchayats.

She said, “The Central government can bring in rules, meaningful regulations, remove hurdles, and design policy. All these can be implemented in the UTs where the government of India is directly responsible. But further down, it is the State governments which are equally responsible.”

Though World Bank discontinued the ‘Doing Business’ project in June 2019, reports published before that noted that India has made good progress. In the last published rankings in 2019, India was placed 63 among 190 countries which was an improvement of 79 ranks from 142 in 2014. India is now assessing States on business reforms.

Top achievers

The assessment of States/UTs based on the implementation of the Business Reforms Action Plan for the year 2020 found Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana as the ‘top achievers’. Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh are figured under the ‘achievers’ category.

Explaining the various dimensions of facilitating business, Sitharaman said depending on habitation, be it in a municipal area where municipalities have to internalise the reality that they are part of the architecture to facilitate easing of doing business. Likewise, panchayats have to pencil in the fact that ease of doing business is an important criteria for business to prosper.

“So, it is not just the Government of India, but all different tiers of governance are responsible. We, in the government of India, are engaging with different layers of people and administration so that ease of doing business continues across the country,” Sitharaman said.

Becoming an entrepreneur

When one student asked how he can become an entrepreneur, Finance Minister listed out four important features.

“To be an entrepreneur, first be ready to take risks. Second, familarise yourself with government facilities. Third, understand competition. And fourth, be ready to close shop if your business fails and start a new venture; closing is not a curse, nobody will black mark you on it,” she said.

“Life will always be full of ups and downs. But the moment you recognise them, half of the bridge is crossed,” the Finance Minister said.

She also urged the students to channelise their energy creatively. “Keep the energy going. India has brilliant things to offer to you. You are the ones who are going to build this country. You are the country’s bright future and I can see your faces lit with hope and we are here to serve you,” she said.

The Finance Minister assured the young generation that eliminating corruption is the top priority of the present government. “Corruption-free leadership is important for Indian psyche because psychologically you should feel that India is a good country, it has a good leader, we are young people and we have hope here,” she said.

(The correspondent was in Kota at the invitation of Lok Sabha Speaker)