New Delhi: India has leapfrogged 23 places to secure 77th rank in the Global Ease of Doing Business Index, a World Bank report said on Wednesday. This comes as a short in the arm for the Narendra Modi government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, Mr Modi had promised to improve the ease of doing business in the country. After his party came to power in 2014, the government had been successful in improving the country’s ranking ever since.
India was ranked 142nd among 190 nations in 2014 when the Modi government came to power. It rose to 100th spot in 2017 from the 131st rank in 2016.
“When we came to power the Prime minister had said that we have to come within the top 50 ranks. Today, we are at Rank 77. DIPP has worked on how to up the ranking on each criterion,” said finance minister Arun Jaitley. Finance minister said India can crack into top 50 if it improves on time taken for registering real estate, starting business and enforcement of contracts.
In its comment on the rankings, the World Bank said India earned the credentials of being a top global improver for a second consecutive year. “India 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,” said the report.
“India’s strong reform agenda to improve the business climate for small and medium enterprises is bearing fruit. It is also reflected in the government’s strong commitment to broaden the business reforms agenda at the state and now even at the district level,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India.
A single incorporation form replacing multiple applications forms previously and the rollout of the GST have halved the time taken for starting a business from 30 days to 16. The country has also eased the process of obtaining a construction permit and improved building quality control by introducing decennial liability and insurance. The ranking has also improved as getting electricity was made cheaper and faster in Delhi.
India also performed exceedingly well in Protecting Minority Investors, with a global rank of 7, and scoring a perfect 10 in the index measuring shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions.
While there has been substantial progress, India still lags in areas such as Enforcing Contracts (ranked 163 globally) and Registering Property (166), said the report. It takes 69 days and costs about eight per cent of the property value to register a property, compared to 20 days and 4.2 percent among high income OECD economies.
“And, it takes 1,445 for a company to resolve a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court, almost 3 times more than the 582 days needed in high income OECD economies,” it said.