While tabling the Union Budget 2022-23, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the budget will be guided by the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan (“Gati Shakti Plan”). The Gati Shakti Plan is an infrastructure initiative driven by seven engines which includes roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways, and logistics infrastructure. It aims at world class modern infrastructure and logistics synergy. One of the key initiatives by the Union Government towards implementing the Gati Shakti Plan and to promote ease of doing business in India, is the National Single Window System (“NSWS”). NSWS is a single digital platform for obtaining necessary permissions, licenses, regulatory approvals and clearances required for kick starting a business in India.
The initiative is rolled out at the national level and many of the central ministries have been already onboarded on the NSWS platform for example Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. In addition, 14 key States have also joined the initiative. Interestingly, as per news reports, the first approval through NSWS was granted on January 11, 2022, to a Gujarat based company. The approval was granted within 63 days of making the application.
A brief snapshot of the services provided by NSWS is as follows:
- Know Your Approval (“KYA”): KYA is an intelligent information system that helps a user to assess the necessary approvals and licenses that will be required by the user for setting up a business in India. For example, if a user wants to set up a start-up, all the user has to do is login to the NSWS platform and answer a few questions relating to the business of the start-up. KYA will assess the information put in by the user and list out the approvals required by the user to kick start his business.
- Common Registration Form: To ensure a single point of submission of information for approvals required, a comprehensive information capturing common registration form has been introduced. The user will need to fill in his information only once and that information will be auto populated across different forms for approvals and licenses of Central and State departments.
- State Registration Form: The user may also require certain State approvals for business and establishment for which the State registration form has been introduced.
- Applicant dashboard: This provides the user a single online interface to apply, track and respond to the queries pertaining to approvals and registrations across various central and state departments.
- Document Repository: Document repository is an online centralised storage service which enables a user to store all relevant documents on the NSWS platform. The user has to submit relevant documents at once thereby eliminating the need to submit documents at multiple government portals.
- E-communication module: Enables online response to queries and clarification requests related to applications by the various departments.
In summary the key benefits of NSWS can be:
- Single point of contact
It is imperative to note that the services provided at the NSWS is only for guidance purposes and does not constitute any legal advice. Given the ambitious plan for streamlining licenses and approvals across various bodies, we remain optimistic for its successful roll out and the contribution to increasing business activity by facilitating ease of doing business. In our view this will also free up time for real business activity.