Kochi: The Kerala Government will roll out an online, single window clearance mechanism with unique features that would ease the proceedings of launching new ventures and give a phenomenal push to entrepreneurship activities in the state.

To be launched at ASCEND 2019 in Kochi, on February 11, the Single Window Interface for Fast and Transparent Clearance (KSWIFT) mechanism will bring together relevant departments for expediting approvals within the stipulated timeframe, reducing and simplifying procedures and substantially curtailing bureaucratic interventions.

ASCEND 2019 will showcase a string of sweeping administrative and policy reforms that have considerably improved ease of doing business in Kerala for the benefit of industry and trade members. KSWIFT will be a pioneering integrating platform that supports entrepreneurs in obtaining their requisite clearances for setting up and running an enterprise in the state.

Having all the trappings of a landmark initiative, KSWIFT is designed to make governance more efficient, effective, transparent and user-friendly by leveraging the information technology. It will be a platform for all future transactions with the government for granting licences and approvals in a time-bound manner.

Currently, the services of 14 departments are being made available in KSWIFT, wherein all the applications can be submitted through a unified Common Application Form (CAF). These departments are Directorate of Urban Affairs, Directorate of Panchayats, Dept. of Town and Country Planning, Factories and Boilers, Electrical Inspectorate, Mining and Geology, Forest and Wildlife, Labour, Fire and Rescue Services, Kerala State Pollution Control Board, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd., Kerala Water Authority, and Dept. of Ground Water.

KSWIFT has features like CAF; intelligent information wizard; unified payment mechanism; time-bound clearances; digital approvals; online issue of clearances; and deemed approvals and composite licences. It will enable entrepreneurs to submit all their applications online along with provisions to upload the requisite supporting documents.

Further, dedicated dashboards provided for both project proponents and department officials pave the way for end-to-end tracking and processing of the applications. In order to increase transparency, KSWIFT has also enabled the provision for third party verification of the entire clearance process.

It will be the next revolutionary change in the clearances / legislative landscape of the state that would provide a thriving environment for enterprises. KSWIFT is expected to reduce the physical touch points in the entire clearance process, thereby making the entire process more efficient and effective.

As a means of improving the entrepreneur–government interface, the Kerala government has constituted Investment Promotion and Facilitation Cells (IPFC) at both the state and district-level.

The IPFC consists of officials of the departments involved in providing clearances for setting up and running enterprises in the state.

The mandate of the IPFC is to act as the single point of contact for investors and accord all the required approvals for setting up and operation of enterprises in Kerala. It is envisaged to track the progress of applications submitted online, obtain regular feedback from the stakeholder departments / agencies, remove bottlenecks and ensure time-bound disposal of applications.

The IPFC will also provide handholding support to all entrepreneurs, who wish to make Kerala their preferred destination for starting and running an enterprise.

The IPFC at the state-level, with Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (KSIDC) as its CEO, will be headquartered in KSIDC in the capital city. District Collectors will be the Chairpersons for the IPFC while General Manager, District Industries Centers, will be the Convenors in respective districts.

By Manoj

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