As a good news, with India climbing over 30 places in a few years in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ global rankings, getting into the top 50 countries is a distinct possibility over the short term, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
“We jumped over 30 places in three years, and as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said about setting a target to get among the top 50… I believe it is eminently doable,” Jaitley told reporters here following the release of World Bank Group’s latest report ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’.
“In 2014, we were ranked 142, and in the last two years India has gone from 131 to 130,” he said.
India for the first time has moved into the top 100 in the World Bank rankings from its 130th position last year, riding on sustained government reforms which include making tax paying easier, according to the report.
“This is the highest jump any country has made in the ease of doing business rankings and is significant for India for our efforts on the 10 rankings’ criteria,” Jaitley said.
“These 10 parameters are so tough that you don’t get credit for the reforms introduced till you actually see their results on the ground,” he said, adding that the World Bank’s cut-off date for considering performance is June of every year.
Listing the areas which had boosted India’s ranking, Jaitley said that on “protection of minority investors” India had come up to fourth place on account of reforms like bringing in the Companies Act and setting up of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
The report recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, though the report does not take into account the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rolled out on July 1.
“The biggest jump comes in the area of taxation reforms where we were ranked 172 last year and have moved up 53 places to be at 119 this year,” Jaitley said, adding that India can hope to get credit for GST in the rankings for “subsequent years”.
“India made paying of taxes easier by requiring that payments are made electronically to the Employees Provident Fund and introducing a set of administrative measures for easing compliance with corporate income tax,” the report said.
“India, with eight reforms, was one of this year’s top 10 improvers worldwide and the leading regional performer. This is the first year that India is in the top 100 economies globally,” it added.
The Finance Minister noted that both on “ease of getting credit” and “electricity connections” India has come up to the 29th position this year.
“On resolving insolvency, we were 136… then we brought in the Bankruptcy Code and now we have climbed 33 places to 103rd position,” he said.
While there has been substantial progress, India still lags in areas such as starting a business, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits, where there is a lot of work in progress that would help improve rankings further, he added.
“India has moved to 100th position as a result of a number of reforms by the government. India is moving ahead in absolute ranking as well,” Annette Dixon, Vice President, South Asia region, World Bank, told reporters earlier in the day.