indica Washington Bureau
In what can be called a sign of good economic health, India jumped 23 places to move to 77th position among 190 nations in this year’s global ease of doing business rankings.
According to the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform’ report, released on October 31, India carried out six business reforms during the past year, earning credentials of being a top global improver for a second consecutive year.
Last year, India jumped 30 positions to reach the top 100.
It is for the second consecutive year that India has been recognized as a top improver. It is the only South Asian country to achieve this distinction two years in a row, and only nine other countries have accomplished this since 2011, India’s finance ministry said.
When the ruling government came to power in 2014, India stood at the 142nd position in World Bank’s “Doing Business” list. It had plummeted from 132 to 142 between 2011 and 2014 when the Opposition party was in power.
“It is a matter of pride for every Indian that India has made yet another phenomenal jump in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings! We are now placed 77th compared to 100th last year,” BJP president Amit Shah said.
In a series of tweets, he attributed the “phenomenal jump” in the ranking to a series of policy reforms undertaken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government that had contributed towards the creation of an environment that encourages industry, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The latest jump comes in an election year, as the government is under opposition attack for the rise in petrol prices, the fall of the rupee and the differences with the Reserve Bank of India. Besides, the Congress has persistently pointed to what it calls the “failure” of PM Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.
“India is one of our top reformers, one of our top 10 performers. It was also on the top 10 list last year… two years in a row, which is sometimes very difficult to do,” Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s Senior Director for Development Economics and Acting Chief Economist, told a prominent Indian news agency.
The World Bank stated that apart from streamlining business processes, India made commencing a business easier by integrating multiple application forms into a general incorporation form. “India also replaced the value-added tax with the GST (Goods and Services Tax) for which the registration process is faster,” it said.
India has registered huge improvement in 6 of the 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices, the finance ministry said. The biggest improvements have been in the indicators related “construction permits” and “trading across borders”, the ministry added. In the area of construction permits, the country’s ranking has improved by a whopping 129 points, 66 in “trading across borders”, the ministry said.
“The five areas that need more improvement are in registering property, starting a business, insolvency and taxation and enforcement of contracts. We have done some legislation already and if we focus on these areas, touching 50th rank is achievable.
After all ease of doing business is all about minimum governance and your investment process is guided by it. In the last four years we have achieved a 67 point jump and if we concentrate on the five areas that need more focus, we can improve the ranking in the next two to three years,” India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying in news reports.
The World Bank ranked 190 countries based on 10 parameters, including starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
New Zealand topped the list of 190 countries in ease of doing business, followed by Singapore, Denmark, and Hong Kong. The United States was placed eight and China was ranked 46th. Neighboring Pakistan has been placed at 136.
The World Bank said that overall, the BRIC economies improved their average ease of doing business score by a combined total of almost 19 points across various areas of business regulation.