By Michael Fisher | B&C
Out of the 28 companies recently reported, only two or may be three new companies have so far invested in Goa from 2011 till June 2012, and the rest are existing companies that have used HPCC process to embark upon expansion and upgradation programmes, a fine way to pull the wool over the eyes.
The lack of success of the High Powered Coordination Committee (HPCC) which was meant to be the single window facilitator for industries has many sarcastic names adopted by apex bodies, government departments and bluechip companies. Some call it the ‘additional headache committee.’
To source information such as how many applications received through the HPCC mode, and how many approvals have been made, this reporter was made to shuffle from the assistant director of industries, to the HPCC section in the ground floor of Vidut Bhavan to the HPC functional manager ensconced in first floor and back again to the ground floor. Finally he was told to visit the Director of Industries after the investors’ forum’s meet.
If HPCC had a record card of its achievements, it would read: Successfully chased out many investors, started Goa’s first backhander incentives, shunned industrial growth in favour of flamboyant decadence. The topic of corruption, in large part, remains a mystery
HPCC files are still hovering around government departments waiting for approvals. Although the state government has changed for the better, what companies fear most is that the people are still in there. Suggestions have been made to the Chief Minster Mr Manohar Parrikar to replace HPCC with an Investment Board, but the CM replied: “I will make it work”. Is the CM planning a Industry Corruption Barometer, Verna industries wonder?
Six vendors in the business of manufacturing have started scouting for industrial plots in Goa to produce parts for a major white goods manufacturer in Verna Industrial Estate (VIE). The major intends to invest Rs 17 - 20 crore in its expansion and modernisation of the Goa unit. These plans are probably in limbo.
As many as 20 new companies are hesitant to invest in Goa and have put on hold their plans attributed to running around in circles to the 10 committees that make up the single window HPCC. The HPCC is supposed to be a cutting-edge tool for trade facilitation to private sector organisations, says Verna Industry Association president Mr Prashant Shinde.
It is a crucial instrument that will eliminate inefficiency and ineffectiveness in business and government procedures and document requirements along the supply chain, reduce trade transaction costs, as well as improve compliance, and security.
The HPCC is meant to lead to a better combination of existing governmental systems and processes, while at the same time promoting a more open and facilitative approach to the way in which governments operate and communicate with business. This will also result in better coordination and cooperation between the government and regulatory authorities involved in trade-related activities.
Excuse my cynicism, says a member of the GIDC task force Mr Blaise Costibir, HPCC has yet to demonstrate its viability. What are reported above is the usual sweet and fluffy adjectives which accompany most customs made and investors forum, ignoring prerequisite building blocks upon which concepts like a Single Window may prove beneficial and effective.
The main benefit for the business investor is that through the Single Window the license becomes time bound and will provide the investor with a single point for the one-time submission of all required information and documentation to all government departments involved in export, import or transit procedures.
It enables governments to process submitted information, documents and fees both faster and more accurately, thus benefiting from faster clearance and release times, enabling them to speed up the supply chain.
In addition, the improved transparency in acquiring land and increased predictability would further reduce the potential for corrupt behavior from both the public and private sector. Explaining further, the Task Force member said GIDC should disclose in the open to whom it has sold the land and its price and why, when there are many waiting in line.
Former GCCI president Mr Nitin Kuncolienkar said HPCC known to be the single window system for industries has turned out to be an additional window. HPCC is a nodal agency comprising all the government departments. Once an approval is received from this agency there should be no other approvals required, however the entrepreneurs have to run from pillar to post for their NOCs and approvals from each individual government agency, thereby facing harassment.
Today the power department is in shambles. The top functionaries are constantly on the extended period of employment. The department has crashed in absence of proper directives or leadership. The department does not have the ability to cater to the requirements of the industries in the State. There is an urgent need of total revamping of the department. Are we flying the flag of endangered industries?
Andrew Telecom, now known as Commscope, is 90 per cent powered by gensets and the balance by Reliance. Nestle which has applied for 1000KVA two years ago, is still waiting for a connection. It then applied for 550 KVA and received it in three installments. The company is losing Rs 50 lakh on generator power.
Verna industries say there is no time bound accountability between HPCC clearance and license to operate. They suggest that HPCC visit the companies, understand their basis needs and come out amicably with solutions. Improve the process of land allotment, and its transparency. They wonder that after the land allotment can there be a single final window moving with all the required linkage for approval. Can we have one single file for all departments? What the industries fear most is that in spite of the change in the government for the better, are the people
According to sources in the directorate of industries, HPCC approves the projects, so then where is the hitch? The hitch lies in the connection of power and water, which is obviously in the hands of its ministers.