India leapfrogged to the 77th rank in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, jumping 23 notches from last year, a news that is likely to bring cheer for the Narendra Modi-government that is caught in an apparent turf battle with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The report also recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second successive time. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift.
The jump is significant, as it comes after last year’s 30-rung climb when India moved into the top 100 rankings among 190 countries.
India has improved its rank by 53 positions in the last two years, and 65 positions in the last four years (2014-18).
On the “distance to frontier metric”, a measure to gauge how far an economy’s policies are from global best practices, India’s score improved to 67.23 from 60.76 last year.
This means last year India improved its business regulations in absolute terms – indicating that the country is continuing its steady shift towards global standards.
The annual report, which ranks countries on business-friendliness, procedural ease, regulatory architecture and absence of bureaucratic red tape, could not have come at a more opportune time for the government that is caught in a perception battle with the RBI’s autonomy.
India is in the top 10 of Protecting Minority Investors (Rank 7).
“India continued its reform agenda, implementing six reforms in the past year. India is now the region’s top-ranked economy,” the World Bank said, ahead of Bhutan (81) and Sri Lanka (100), Nepal (110), the Maldives (139), Pakistan (136) and Afghanistan (167) and Bangladesh (176).
India has improved its rank in six out of the 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices on seven out of 10 indicators.
The most dramatic improvements have been registered in the indicators related to ‘Construction Permits’ and ‘Trading Across Borders’.
In the ‘Grant of Construction Permits’ indicator, India’s ranking improved from 181 last year to 52 in this year’s report—a jump of 129 ranks in a single year.
In the ‘Trading Among Borders’ indicator, India’s rank improved by 66 positions, moving from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018.
India reduced the time and cost to export and import through various initiatives, including the implementation of electronic sealing of containers, the upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures, the World Bank said.
In the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business rankings, the top 10 economies are New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, which retain their first, second and third spots, respectively, for a second consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; United States; United Kingdom and FYR Macedonia.
Many took to Twitter to celebrate the development.
“Today, India’s stands at 77 in WB Doing Business 2019. In 3 years, we have improved our ranking by 65 points – no country of India’s size and complexity has achieved this. Demonstrates that in India, transformative changes are possible if we put our minds to it,” says Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.
“India has done it again! Under the able leadership of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji, India jumped the #EaseofDoingBusinessRankings by 23 this year to be ranked at 77. #IndiaMeansBusiness #EoDB,” tweeted Suresh Prabhu.
“We have made notable improvements in 6 important #EoDB indicators and are steadily moving towards implementation of international best practices. India is now ranked 1st among South Asian countries compared to 6th rank in 2014,” he tweeted.
The Commerce Minister gave out a list of tweets with graphics that say how India improved on many fronts including the ease of securing construction permits, getting an electricity connection, paying taxes and zero-fee for reducing under the shops and establishments act.