December 3, 2020 Print

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in New Delhi produced the Quality of Regulation (QR) report in 2019 to put India on a more sophisticated path of lawmaking. The report includes a checklist that CCS argues should be incorporated into any proposed legislation. The checklist is intended to encourage lawmakers to consider a law’s impact on citizens and businesses before approving it.

In 2020, CCS applied the QR report to review existing laws and regulations that affect the ease of doing business. The team also conducted a quantitative analysis of these laws to obtain objective and quantifiable feedback on their quality. 

In its 2020 action plan, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) included many of the key principles that CCS recommended in the QR. The plan calls for the DPIIT to consider if proposed legislation is necessary and business-friendly, and emphasizes transparency and accessibility. This is the first time that the DPIIT has directly cited the QR, and highlights a shift towards ‘smarter regulation’ for one of the country’s largest regulators.

CCS was also invited to submit a draft of the proposed amendments to the Street Vendors Act of 2014, which included all key elements of the QR checklist. Under the proposed legislation, time-limits would be introduced for approval/rejection of vending licenses, accountability of public officials would be increased through penal provisions in cases where they abuse their power, and more freedom would be awarded to street vendors to organize and regulate themselves. The amendments were accepted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for further deliberation. 

The QR has helped India begin down a path of deregulation—and ‘smarter regulation’—that prioritizes the individual and business over the arbitrary requirements of the government. When the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in India are lifted, CCS plans to continue this push in several more regulated industries.

Atlas Network supported the Quality of Regulation project with a grant.