indica News Bureau-
India has slipped 10 spots to 68th on the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), largely because several other economies have improved, the Press Trust of India has reported. Singapore has replaced the US as the world’s most competitive economy.
India, which was ranked 58th in the GCI that is compiled by the Geneva-based forum, is among the worst-performing BRICS nations with Brazil (ranked lower at 71 this year).
Announcing its latest index, the WEF said Wednesday India ranks high in macroeconomic stability and market size, and its financial sector is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate, which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system.
In some of the positives, India is ranked 15 in corporate governance and second for shareholder governance. In market size, India is third, the same as for renewable energy regulation. Besides, India punches above its status when it comes to innovation, well ahead of most emerging economies and on a par with several advanced economies.
But these positives contrast with major shortcomings in some of the basic enablers of competitiveness, the WEF said, flagging limited ICT (information, communications and technology) adoption, poor health conditions and low healthy life expectancy.
The WEF said the healthy life expectancy, where India is ranked 109th out of 141 countries, is one of the shortest outside Africa and significantly below even the South Asian average.
Besides, India needs to grow its skills base, while its product market efficiency is undermined by a lack of trade openness and the labor market is characterized by lack of worker rights protection, insufficiently developed active labor market policies and critically low participation of women.
With a ratio of female to male workers of just 0.26, India ranks 128 out of 141 countries. India is also ranked low at 118 in terms of meritocracy and incentivization and 107 for skills.
In the overall GCI, however, India is trailed by its neighbors, with Sri Lanka at 84, Bangladesh at 105, Nepal at 108 and Pakistan at 110.
The WEF also said the drop of 10 slots in India’s position to 68 may look dramatic, but the decline in the country’s competitiveness score is relatively small. A number of similarly placed economies like Colombia, South Africa and Turkey improved over the past year and hence have overtaken India.
The study also highlighted that the global economy is unprepared for a major slowdown.
The GCI, which was launched in 1979, maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organized into 12 pillars.
Singapore has become the world’s most competitive economy, pushing the US to second place. Hong Kong SAR is ranked third, Netherlands fourth and Switzerland fifth.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, said, “The Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 provides a compass for thriving in the new economy where innovation becomes the key factor of competitiveness.
“The report shows that those countries which integrate into their economic policies an emphasis on infrastructure, skills, research and development and support those left behind are more successful compared to those that focus only on traditional factors of growth.”