New Delhi: India is targeting an ambitious 40-notch jump in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey this year. Last year, its rank rose by just one place to 130 in the survey that measures the ease of doing business in various countries.
According to an output-outcome framework document prepared by the government, India wants to reach the 90th rank in 2017-18 and 30th by 2020.
“Better rank in ease of doing business and greater awareness about opportunities in India in manufacturing sector would lead to growth in the manufacturing sector,” the document said.
Department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) secretary Ramesh Abhishek said the targets are feasible.
“We are hoping to do extremely well in five categories: starting a business, construction permits, paying taxes, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency. We are already in the top 50 in three parameters out of 10. We are facing challenges in two criteria: enforcing contracts and registering property because of the complexity involved,” he said.
India was ranked within the top 50 countries in parameters such as protecting minority investors (13th), getting electricity (26th) and getting credit (44th), among the 190 countries surveyed. India’s worst rank was in dealing with construction permits, where it was placed 185th. It ranked 136th in resolving insolvency, 138th in registering property, 143rd in trading across borders and 172nd in both paying taxes and enforcing contracts.
Arindam Guha, partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said it will be an uphill task to achieve the targets since it involves many stakeholders other than the central government.
“Government has to proactively pursue with the state governments and local bodies as well as the Supreme Court and high courts for necessary reforms. Between Delhi and Mumbai, the former has been an underperformer though the latter has picked up in recent times, especially in dealing with construction permits. This may prove to be a drag on India’s overall ranking,” he added.
This year’s budget allocated Rs272.48 crore under the scheme of investment promotion that will be spent on launching a 360 degree awareness campaign for better ease of doing business ranking and to attract investment in 25 sectors selected under Make in India.
DIPP has also involved the National Productivity Council and the United Nations Development Programme to conduct user feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of its reform measures.
To break into the top 50 in the World Bank ranking, India needs to set up fast-track commercial courts, dispose of cases quickly with minimum adjournments and establish e-courts for electronic filing of complaints, summons and payments, a government official said on condition of anonymity.
Aiming to make it easier to do business in India, finance minister Arun Jaitley in his 2017-18 budget presented on 1 February promised to simplify labour laws and abolish the foreign investment and promotion board (FIPB).
Jaitley announced legislative reforms to simplify, rationalize and amalgamate existing labour laws into four codes—wages, social security and welfare, industrial relations, and safety and working conditions.
The finance minister said a road map for scrapping the FIPB that scrutinizes foreign investment proposals will be announced soon as part of the government’s financial sector reforms.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre plotted an eight-point strategy to make it easier to do business in India. Departments will now hold stakeholder consultations for feedback on reforms undertaken, and also engage with respondents to ensure the reforms are implemented at the ground level. Each department will review progress every week in carrying out the necessary reforms.