India jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ ranking, sending the jubilant government to vow to continue reforms that will help the country break into top 50 in coming years. India was ranked 130th for last two years. The ranking did not take into consideration the implementation of GST since the reform came after the cut-off date of June.
India, which was ranked 142nd when the Narendra Modi government took office in 2014 and 130th last year, is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift on the back of reforms in taxation, construction permits, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution.
The World Bank said it is “one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, having implemented reforms in 8 out of 10 ‘doing business’ indicators.” This is the first time India has broken into top 100 nations.
Reacting to the development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government is determined to further improve the rankings and scale greater economic growth with the mantra of ‘reform, perform and transform’.
He hailed as “historic” the jump in India’s ranking in ‘ease of doing business’ and said it was a result of “all-around & multi-sectoral reform push”.
Addressing the media in New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “This is the highest jump that we have made in doing business ranking and it is significant for India because for the last 3-4 years we are trying to improve upon all the 10 parameters (of ranking) so that it becomes easy to do business in India.”
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 parameters that witnessed improvement in 2016-17 were India making it faster for start business, reduction in procedures and time required to obtain the 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.
“This is a major jump,” Rita Ramalho, Acting Director for World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, attributing the climb of 30 places to the series of reforms undertaken by the Modi government since 2014.
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. Brazil’s ranking is 125th.
“India has improved a lot this year, but there’s still room for improvement, So, I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a nice place to do business yet, but definitely is in the right direction to become a nice place. It is much easier than it was two years ago,” Ramalho said.
Santiago Croci Downes, Acting Manager, Doing Business Unit at World Bank, said that in the 15 years’ history of this annual report, there have been only five countries like Georgia and Rwanda which made a massive jump in one year. But none of them was as big an economy as India.