Online Issuance of Trade License in Rural Areas of the State – Department of MSME & Textiles, Government of West Bengal


SKOCH Award Nominee

Category: State – Department
Sub-Category: subState – Department
Project: Online Issuance of Trade License in Rural Areas of the State
Start Date: 2021-01-30
Organisation: Department of MSME & Textiles, Government of West Bengal
Respondent: Mr Swaroop Udayakumar, Joint Secretary
https://wbprdgpms.in/onlinetrade/onlinenocapplication.php
Level: Premium Plus


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Case Study

The aim is to enable the issuance of Trade License in rural areas without any physical touchpoint between the enterprises and Gram Panchayat offices. It is enacted to ensure that no person is running any unethical business practices. This initiative is a step taken towards continuing the legacy of ‘Digital India’ and ‘e-Governance’ mission that facilitates a huge number of public services to be delivered to the citizens at their fingertips. The idea is to promote innovation & technology along with skill development. The focus is on improving the business environment in rural areas, which are key drivers to spur economic growth and in generating employment in the area.

Problem

Initially, it was a very complex procedure for applying for a trade license, applicants had to visit Gram Panchayat offices and have to physically apply for services and this increased the time taken for starting a business and caused stagnant economic growth of the area. The procedures for verification and scrutiny of each license were very cumbersome and involved permissions to be sought from various officials, which was a time-consuming process.

It required 6 documents to be submitted at the time of application, viz., Voter ID, Aadhaar, Lease Deed/Legal Occupancy Document, Self-Declaration and Copy of all Statutory clearances. It was a completely manual offline process that took minimum 45 days as it also involved physical verification based on site inspection. The fee calculation was done manually based on the nature of trade and the business area. This added to the already difficult process causing harassment of the applicants.

One of the major issues was change management and to conduct a hands-on training of the Gram Panchayat officials, many officials and staff was not aware of the new technology and methods to work, so it was quite a challenging task to make them aware of the new digitalised method of work. There was absence of a single platform that facilitates the process of the application online and issuance of the trade license, which can be downloaded by the enterprise from the portal. Due to manual processing of works and human interventions, communication gaps were also experienced. Consequently, a delay in service delivery was obvious. As the inspection was required at each stage of scrutiny, this caused a lot of delay in the issuance of the licenses to the persons who needed it urgently.

Solution

Conversion of the offline mode of application into the online mode with online submission of application and requisite documents, online payment of fees was the only way out. The applications are now processed online and trade licenses are issued online, which can be downloaded by the enterprises from the portal without any need for an office visit. The Department has also focused on infrastructure and skill development to attract investors like by investing more in network quality, increasing the numbers of computers, WiFi etc.

Many pieces of training and sessions were provided to the staff and users to help them in getting friendlier with the portal interface. One feedback link was also provided on the website, where users can give their valuable feedback that helps in continuous improvement of the portal performance and increases the efficiency of the work.

Outcomes

Now the timeline of the work is reduced from 45 days offline to 7 days online and the number of documents required is also reduced from 6 to 2 only. With the help of this initiative, now the system of calculation of the fees is completely transformed into an online system, which reduces the chances of corruption and bad practices. Now standardisation of fees is done by the website itself.

One of the major outcomes of the project is that now offline system has been replaced by an online system without any requirement of a physical touchpoint between the enterprise and Gram Panchayat Offices. There is no need for any offline paperwork. Easing the licensing process helped in increasing the number of license applications, which is a positive sign of the implementation of the project. Online availability of the data helped in administrative planning for the future, which makes the future planning of the policies to be more effective and appropriate. The computerised and digitalised system can be operated from anywhere anytime, which overcomes the time constraint problem and provides easy access to many services to the users. The efficiency of the project has increased by overwhelming support from the rural area, as the people are supporting this initiative from ground level. The project makes user manual, policies, procedures, guidelines, etc available online which help users to have a clear idea of the policies. These online trade licenses act as a substantial gateway that ensures the seamless inflow of financial aid to businesses. The authenticity and credibility of online trade licenses bring trust among the investors to invest without any hesitation and fear.


For more information, please contact:
Mr Swaroop Udayakumar, Joint Secretary at eodbteam.wb@gmail.com


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