Goyal urges MNCs to act as whistleblowers

Asks them to flag hurdles, red tape

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday asked multinational (MNC) investors to ‘play the role of a whistleblower’ and flag any bottlenecks or harassment they faced in the country, stressing that many States need to work on making approvals and regulations easier for investors.

Ten States had already joined the single-window clearance system set up for investors recently, and four more are expected to join by December, while 18 Central Ministries have onboarded so far, the Minister said. Over time, the system will include approvals going down to the level of local bodies and municipal corporations, he assured MNCs.

India, he said, had been eyeing a top 25 place in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings had it continued, but will continue to rank its States to encourage competitive policies.

‘Making lives easier’

“We want States to also make lives easier for their stakeholders… like removing redundant laws, decriminalising local laws or implementing central laws more honestly, like the Boiler Regulations or the Legal Metrology Act. They are all managed by the States,” Mr. Goyal said at a session with MNCs hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“[At] our end, we are trying to work with them to take the pressure off industry but it will have to involve them. You can play the role of a whistleblower, tell us where the wrongdoing is happening or where your people are getting harassed so that we can try and resolve each of those,” the Minister said.

Responding to a query about clearances getting slower where multiple Ministries are involved, Mr. Goyal said the government would try to see ‘if we can get the principal Ministry to facilitate’ the process.

The Centre, he said, took a year-and-a-half to get the single-window clearance system going because of abundant caution.

“I was trying to be more and more cautious and didn’t want to have a goof-up like some of the other digital applications which went through a lot of time and iterations before they were fine-tuned. I have done the reverse — we did a lot of tests and checking,” Mr. Goyal asserted.

However, once an approval is granted on the system, there’s no need for separate physical approvals, he assured investors, urging them to use the system and give feedback. While India was willing to embrace global standards, it wouldn’t do so blindly, he said, adding the Centre was in the process of opening up the Bureau of Indian Standards’ testing infrastructure to private users.

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