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India’s roaring economy ranks 133rd among 183 countries in the ease of doing business
India is supposed to be emerging as a global economic powerhouse and the 'apple of the eye' for Western onlookers.
But a quantitative survey by the World Bank seems to conclude year after year that India is a terrible place to do business. How easy is it to do business here? How efficient are we when it comes to enforcing contracts or dealing with construction permits? How do we go about registering property or protecting investors? Are we able to provide quick credit and make timely tax payments? The World Bank's illuminating Annual Survey of Doing Business has just found that we have successfully managed to dig a deeper hole than before. India's spot in the rankings table is a lowly 133, out of the 183 global economies surveyed. While we have slipped a notch in the overall rankings since 2009, we have lost quite a bit of ground on some parameters.
The survey ranks countries on the following 10 parameters: starting a business, getting construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.
The overall top spot was secured by Singapore, like last year, followed by New Zealand. Hong Kong was third, followed by the United States, the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Starting a business continues to be a headache for entrepreneurs, even as global admirers sing praises of India's corporate elite and their giant strides in world markets. India is ranked 169th on this count, having slipped a good three notches from last year's rankings. Giant stride, indeed. Dealing with construction permits and registering properties also remain quite a task for the people here, as fat red tape, and stifling bureaucracy, pose severe difficulties. How do we do when it comes to enforcing contracts? You guessed right. The World Bank wouldn't even need a survey to find out that this still remains a grey area - which is why we are stagnant at 182nd rank, in this respect. As if that is not enough, we have also regressed in our efficiency in getting access to credit and protecting investors, having slipped another three notches in rankings on both counts. Are the regulators listening?
Mercifully, we have put up a slightly improved show on a couple of parameters. For instance, we seem to have made a minuscule progress in encouraging cross-border trade through some timely reforms. Interestingly, under the parameter of closing down a business, India has moved a few notches higher, finds the World Bank survey.
Earlier, we had reported (http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4215.html) on how India is dropping down in the scale of logistics performance, according to the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index. Even war-ravaged Lebanon has better logistics systems than this country.