GUWAHATI, April 19 - As part of the government�s �Ease of Doing Business� initiative, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has decided to put in more effort to popularise the online system for grant and renewal of trade licences to business establishments in the city.
Senior GMC officials told The Assam Tribune that an online system has been developed in this regard by a city-based software firm and the Corporation has started using it on an experimental basis for grant of new trade licences and renewal of old ones.
�While the old hand-to-hand system is still in function, we are focusing more and more on the online system. The online system is not only more cost effective and saves time and money, now traders and owners of business establishments need not make unnecessary rounds of our offices. Everywhere the online route is the preferred one nowadays and we also want to move towards a paper-free and green method,� a GMC official told this newspaper.
He added that while the GMC had earlier thought of moving entirely to the online licensing method, it was later decided to continue with both the old practice of hand-to-hand delivery and the new online process simultaneously for some time due to representation from various traders� associations.
�The online system is hassle-free, but it is not yet totally free of minor errors. So we are still following the old method even as we encourage traders and business establishments to join the online platform. It is a single-window system catering to every step, from securing the forms to payment of taxes,� said the official.
The GMC has also joined hands with the traders� bodies to hold camp at certain locations in the city later this month when technical experts will train the businessmen and traders on how to properly make use of the online licensing system.
�Within a day or two, we will select the location for the camp where training will be provided,� said the official.
Meanwhile, the GMC is also planning to intensify the drive to ensure that the shops and business establishments in the city adhere to the directive, asking them to have hoardings and signboards in Assamese along with any other language of their choice.
�Our monitoring squads will fan out soon to ensure that all the establishments are enforcing the rule. They can have signboards and hoardings in any other language also, but Assamese has to be used alongside. We had conducted drives to check that business establishments and advertising agencies follow the rule earlier, but announcement of the Assembly polls led to shortage of field officers as many of them were deputed to election duties. Now that voting is over, we expect to be back in action,� said an official.
There are around 60,000 establishments with trade licences in the city. �However, some others are still operating without trade licences. We want them to apply for it and operate legally. During the drive to check hoardings and signboards, we will also check the licences of the establishments,� said the official.