Rising India has a long way to go as a business destination, ranking way down at 132 for ease of doing business in a World Bank report released Wednesday. Small consolation: India was performed seven positions better than in the last rating, 2011, and some more.
"Over the past six years, 163 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly," said the annual report by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank, adding, "China, India, and the Russian Federation are among the 30 economies that improved the most over time."
This is not an annual beauty contest. The rating is taken seriously by small and medium businesses daring to look outside their comfort zones. The World Bank report is widely preferred to expensive and sometimes suspect country reports put out by private consultants.
It's widely cited even by governments despite how they fare. Officials and industry experts in India, for instance, have often cited India's poor ratings to stress the need for speeding up reforms, loosening regulatory restrictions. They did not want to go on record on Tuesday.
The global report shows that governments in 125 economies out of 183 measured, implemented a total of 245 business regulatory reforms-13% more reforms than the previous year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a record 36 of 46 economies improved.
Singapore topped the list, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark. The Republic of Korea was a new entrant to the top 10. The 12 economies that have improved the ease of doing business were Morocco, Moldova, Macedonia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Latvia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Burundi, the Solomon Islands, the Republic of Korea, Armenia, and Colombia. Two-thirds are low- or lower-middle-income economies.
China was only slightly better placed, coming in at 91, slipping four positions from 87 in 2011.
Of the eight South Asia countries ranked by the report Sri Lanka fared the best.
India gained a small round of applause for simplifying tax procedures for small and medium businesses.
By the way, the report doesn't speak of corruption at all.