New Delhi: India has jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ ranking, helped by a slew of reforms in taxation, licensing, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution.
The ranking comes as a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government amid dissenting voices in certain quarters about implementation of the goods and services tax as well as demonetisation.
In its annual report ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’, the World Bank said that India’s ranking reflects nearly half of the 37 reforms, adopted since 2003, implemented in the last four years.
The ranking, however, does not take into account business environment post implementation of GST, which weaved the country of 1.3 billion into one market with one tax and removed inter-state barriers for trade.
India, which was ranked 130th among the 190 nations, is “one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, having implemented reforms in 8 out of 10 ‘doing business’ indicators,” it said. This is the first time India has broken into top 100 nations.
India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift.
The parameters that witnessed improvement in 2016-17 were India making it faster for start business, reduction in procedures and time required to obtain building permit, easier access to credit, protecting minority investors, ease of paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and making resolving insolvency easier, the World Bank said.
But it still lags in areas such as starting a business, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits.
It takes 30 days now to register a new business, down from 127 days 15 years ago, but “the number of procedures is still cumbersome for local entrepreneurs who still need to go through 12 procedures”, it said.
“This is a major major jump,” Rita Ramalho, Acting Director for World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, told a news agency in Washington, attributing the climb of 30 places to the series of reforms undertake by the Modi government since 2014.
The GST, which was implemented from July 1, will get reflected only in next year’s ‘ease of doing business’ report.
“GST reforms have not been counted this year. It would come into play for the report next year,” Ramalho said, adding that demonetisation was not covered.
India was ranked 130th for last two years. In 2014, it managed to get 142nd spot.
According to the World Bank, New Zealand is the easiest place on the planet to do business, followed by Singapore, Denmark, South Korea and Hong Kong. The US and the UK are ranked 6th and 7th on the list.
Among BRICS countries, Russia tops the list with 35th position, followed by China which has retained its ranking at the 78th place for the second consecutive year.