India unveils single window system for investors and businesses

The Narendra Modi government has finally come out with a National Single Window System (NSWS) for investors and businesses, which would bring transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the ecosystem by making available all information on a single dashboard.

The NSWS portal would have an applicant dashboard that would help investors and businesses to apply, track and respond to queries.
Union minister for commerce and industry, textiles, consumer affairs and public distribution Piyush Goyal on Wednesday soft launched the NSWS for investors and businesses, which, the minister said, will usher in `azadi’ from the legacy of running to government offices for approvals and registrations.
"Launch of National Single Window System, is a giant leap towards making India Aatmanirbhar," Goyal said. Foreign and Indian investors, businesses and start-ups will benefit from the initiative, he added. 
NSWS will bring transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the ecosystem and make all information available on a single dashboard for all at one click of the mouse through ‘end-to-end’ facilitation, Goyal said.
NSWS would usher in `Ease of doing business and Ease of living’ by doing away with paperwork, duplication and information asymmetry of a system that had given rise to windows within window, the minister stated.   
The need for a single interface between businesses and government at national level has been felt for a long time.  It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decisive and bold leadership that has enabled and encouraged India to dream big, he said, adding that the PM’s vision has become India’s mission for the progress of the nation and prosperity for millions of citizens.
Goyal said that this single window portal will become a one-stop-shop for investors for approvals and clearances.
The portal as of today hosts approvals across 18 central and 9 state departments and another 14 central and 5 state departments will be added by December this year, he said. 
Services include Know Your Approval (KYA), Common Registration and state registration form, document repository and e-communication
Goyal said India today holds the attention of the world and the entire world is looking at India to rise and claim its rightful place as an economic powerhouse. GDP has grown at over 20 per cent in Q1FY22, exports jumped 45.17 per cent year-on-year in August, while the country received record foreign investment of $81.72 bn in 2020, $ 22.53 bn inflow in first 3 months of this fiscal. India has also jumped to 46th spot on Global Investment Index (GII), a jump of 35 places in last 6 years
He said that with a rapid recovery from the lump caused by the pandemic, the economy is back on track to become one of the fastest growing large economies. The NSWS will provide strength to other schemes like Make in India, Startup India, PLI scheme etc, he added.  
Finance minister had, while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21, proposed the setting up of an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) that will provide “end to end” facilitation and support to investors, including pre-investment advisory, information related to land banks and facilitate clearances at central and state level. The cell was proposed to operate through an online digital portal. 
Subsequently, DPIIT along with Invest India initiated the process of developing the portal as a National Single Window System (NSWS), which will provide a single platform to enable investors to identify and obtain approvals and clearances needed by investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses in India.
The system is envisioned to address information asymmetry, duplication of information submitted across platforms and authorities and inefficient tracking of approvals and registration faced by investors. 
Improving India’s business climate is one of the key focus areas of the government. Reiterating its commitment to “Make in India, make for the world”, the government has launched several initiatives recently, including the flagship Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) and the India Industrial Land Bank System. The PLI schemes have been announced for 13 sectors with an overall outlay of $27 billion and is set to create manufacturing global champions for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. 
NSWS has been designed keeping the needs of entrepreneurs and investors at the centre. 
NSWS provides following online services:  
Know Your Approval (KYA) Service: an intelligent information wizard that generates a list of approvals required by any business to commence operations. It does so by asking the investor a series of dynamic questions about their planned business activities and identifies the applicable approvals basis the responses provided. The questionnaire, simple and user friendly on the surface, has a complex, automated logic built into it to sieve through hundreds of approvals, and shortlists only those relevant to the specific investor or entrepreneur. This service was launched on 21.07.2021 with over 500 approvals across 32 Central Departments and over 2,000 approvals across 14 states.
Common Registration Form: To ensure a single point of submission of information and documents across Ministries and States, a unified information capturing system along with a common registration form has been introduced. Information is auto-populated on forms, eliminating the need to fill in the same information again. 
State registration form: Enables investor to have seamless single click access to respective State Single Window System.
Applicant dashboard: Provides a single online interface to apply, track and respond to the queries pertaining to approvals and registrations across ministries and states. 
Document repository: An online centralised storage service for investors to enable one-time document submission and use the same across multiple approvals. This eliminates the need to submit documents at multiple portals.
E-Communication module: Enables online response to queries and clarification requests related to applications by ministries and states.
The beta version of the portal has now been completed and is being opened to all stakeholders and the public as trial soft launch. The beta version of the portal (under Phase I), hosts approvals from 18 central departments and 9 states and is aimed at guiding investors to the list of business approvals they may need, based on information provided by them. Another 14 central departments and 5 states will be onboarded by December 2021 (under Phase II).
The portal will progressively onboard a greater number of approvals and licences, based on user / industry feedback. Though extensive testing by ministries/states is ongoing, and will continue for next three months to stabilise and optimise the platform, it is critical that extensive feedback from the industry users is accommodated to ensure comprehensiveness and high utility for investors and entrepreneurs.