In among its best performances in recent years, India ranked 130 in the new Doing Business report released by the World Bank on Tuesday, from 134 (142, based on an old measure) in 2015.
Though the goal of Top 50 envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains far, India did crack the Top 10 group for “protection of minority investors”, ranked 8.
In overall performance, however, this is only the second-highest ranking achieved by India in the last 10 years — it’s best, 120, came in 2008. It’s worst was in 2011, 139.
Singapore topped the world list, once again, with the US ranked seventh. China, India’s arch rival for foreign investments, was ranked 84 and Pakistan came it at 138, not too far from India.
While briefing reporters, a senior World Bank official called India “one of the more interesting stories in this year’s Doing Business report”, adding, “A great deal has been started in India in the last year from the middle of 2014 to the present.”
India never did take the rankings seriously before and, thus, did little to address issues dragging it down even as it sought to attract foreign investments and race against China.
The Modi government accepted the challenge and set about working them with World Bank’s by setting up sub-national (state-wise) goals and targets.
The Doing Business report found two most significant improvements in India over the assessment period: cutting time to start a business and getting electric connection.
“India made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement and the need to obtain a certificate to commence business operations.” Time saved -- five days.
On electricity, the report noted changes in Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi got rid of “internal writing inspection by the Electrical Inspectorate” and Mumbai improved “internal work processes”.
The report also found other improvements: A single-window system for processing building permit applications in Mumbai; and online systems for filing and paying taxes.