Not fully satisfied with the 12 position jump in India’s ranking on ease of doing business index, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the World Bank has not factored in all the steps taken by the government to improve business environment and ranking should have been “significantly higher”.
In the same breath, he also stated that there was a need to further cut down on the number of permissions required so that the time lag between the decision to invest and the actual investment can be shortened significantly.
“States must realise that local laws which enable availability of land, environmental permissions, sanction of building plans need a relook,” he said in a Facebook post titled ‘The Ease of Doing Business’.
Jaitley also posed a question if individual structures require separate approval once an industrial zone or new township has been cleared for environmental sanctions. “The World Bank has upped India’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business by twelve positions. Last month the World Economic Forum had similarly upgraded India. Even though the push up numerically is modest, it marks the reversal of an adverse trend. Considering the number of steps taken in the last 17 months, India’s position should have moved significantly higher. I understand that all steps have not been factored in since the World Bank criteria has a cut-off date and it also waits for announcements to translate into action before they can be factored,” he said.
The minister said that to adjudicate quickly upon investment related matters, a commercial division is being constituted in all high courts.
This would improve the enforceability of contracts where India’s ranking is relatively poor. “The obsolete Specific Relief Act which provides for damages as the normal remedy rather than enforcement, needs to be relooked,” Jaitley said.