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One-stop-shop for Business Approvals: India launches National Single Window System

About NSWS
With an aim to revamp India's business climate, the Indian Government announced the launch of a National Single Window System (NSWS) for foreign and Indian investors, businesses and start-ups in order to fulfil the much-awaited singular interface between businesses and the Government offices at national level, by providing them with a one-stop-shop for approvals and clearances.

Post the announcement of NSWS in the Union Budget of 2020-21, DPIIT along with Invest India were in the process of developing the NSWS portal which is now put into effect. This portal will do away with requirement of running to and coordinating with multiple Government offices.

This system has been launched in line with the objective of the Indian Government viz ease of doing business and ease of living Azadi (i.e. freedom) from paperwork, duplication and informational unevenness. NSWS aims to eradicate the earlier stringent process of various business registrations through Windows within Window in order to provide a hassle-free procedure to obtain all business-related necessary approvals, clearances and registrations, through a single window.

Major Announcements and Key Services
The Indian Government has made the following major announcements in relation to NSWS
  • As per the announcement made by the Indian Government, under Phase-I of its implementation, the NSWS portal will host approvals across 18 Central Government Departments and 9 State Governments.
  • It is planned that under Phase-II of its implementation, another 14 Central Government Departments and 5 State Governments will be added to the NSWS portal by December 2021.
  • All information will be available on a single dashboard on NSWS, consisting of applicant's dashboard to apply, track and respond to queries.
  • NSWS will provide strength to other schemes and initiatives introduced by the Indian Government, such as 'Make in India', 'Startup India', various Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes and India Industrial Land Bank System.

The portal provides for the following key services:
'Know Your Approval' (KYA) Services, which is an information tool that generates a list of approvals required by any business to commence its operations in India.

Common Registration Form, which is a single point of submission of information and documents across Central Ministries and State Governments.

State Registration Form, which enables investors to access Single Window System of various State Governments.

Applicant Dashboard, which facilitates the investors with a single online interface to apply, track and respond to the queries relating to approvals, clearances and registrations across various Ministries and State Governments.

Document Repository, which enables one-time document submission through an online centralized storage services for investors and thereby eliminating the need to submit documents at multiple Government portals.

E-Communication Module, which facilitates the investors to respond to queries and obtain clarifications pertaining to their applications for approvals, clearances and registrations.

Our Comments
The launch of NSWS is a much-awaited reform in the Indian business ecosystem which will facilitate the investors, entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing players in obtaining necessary approvals, clearances and registrations for setting up and operating businesses in India. NSWS also provides for a platform where the investors can obtain clarifications in respect of the required approvals which is likely to simplify and streamline the application procedures and will also address the issues relating to accountability, transparency and responsiveness of the Governmental departments.

NSWS has been launched in the backdrop of the announcements made in the Union Budget 2020-21, which also proposes to set up an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) with an objective to provide 'end-to-end' support to prospective investors, such as advisory in relation to pre-investment requirements, available land banks and facilitation of several Governmental approvals and clearances.

NSWS and ICC, once implemented, will make the process of obtaining approvals and clearances more efficient and will reduce the irregularities which are currently prevalent due to the presence of multiple Government offices and online portals which often results in lack of clarity, duplicity of information and delay in obtaining the necessary approvals, clearances and registrations by investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses in India. NSWS is in its initial phase of implementation and its viability is yet be tested in the coming few months. Needless to say, the launch of NSWS is a progressive measure to boost various objectives of Indian Government, more particularly, the ease of doing business in India.

Written By:
  1. Nusrat Hassan, Co-Managing Partner, Link Legal
  2. Ambuj Sonal, Associate Partner, Link Legal
  3. Abhinav Anand, Associate, Link Legal
The contents of this update are for general information and discussion only and is not intended for any solicitation of work. This update should not be relied upon as a legal advice or opinion.

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