Acknowledging India’s improvement in the recently published Global Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum, Union Minister for Finance, Mr Arun Jaitley said, “We must celebrate and acknowledge this recognition at a global level, but economic reforms like Goods and Services Tax (GST) once implemented and practiced will will surely and further improve our rankings.”
NEW DELHI: The Finance Minister was referring to India’s 39th rank in the latest Geneva-based, high-profile organisation’s annual list, against 55 last year and 71 the year before, which it attributed to recent reforms, as also fiscal and monetary policies.
“This is a continuing process,” Jaitley told a press conference here, evidently called to speak about the new ranking. “It reflects a significant improvement in India’s competitiveness. This is related to the actual progress that we are making,” said the Finance Minister.
“Continuing with the reform agenda of the government, and possible improvement in the goods market with GST, and in the Digital India space, the momentum is likely to continue. We moved from 71 to 55 to 39, there is a consistency,” Jaitley added.
The forum report highlighted that India happens to be the second-most competitive economy among the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, with China 11 notches ahead at the 28th spot.
“Recent reform efforts have concentrated on improving public institutions, opening the economy to foreign investors and international trade, and increasing transparency in the financial system,” the report stated.
Jaitley said that the report itself states that with the likely implementation of GST in 2017, the negative indications in the goods market will be considered again.
“With regard to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) also, there are some negative indications in the report. But with Digital India implementation, ranking is likely to move up. It (the report) holds a mirror where are we doing well and where we need to improve,” he said.
There are other areas like healthcare and education, where India needs to do much more to further improve, he added.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, who was also present at the press conference, said, “there are areas in the report like gross national savings, venture capital availability, which are reflective of measures taken in financial sector that have showed results. This is work in progress.”