Welcome rise

By NT Bureau Published on Nov 03, 2017 04:34 PM IST

The WB’s ease of doing business has noted that India has moved up as many as 30 notches in the rankings, reaching 100 among 190 countries. That is a substantial improvement and need not be sniffed at by anyone. A leap of 30 in just one year was made possible by a slew of reforms. India was one of the top ten improvers in this year’s rankings, implementing reforms in eight out of ten specific indicators.

According to the WB, India has adopted 37 reforms and implemented half of them in the last four years. Protection of minority shareholders, for instance, has elicited a special mention in the WB report which noted that the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, had enhanced investor confidence.

A major plus is the implementation of the bankruptcy code, making it easy for the exit of firms and improving the allocation of capital. The bank evaluates each economy’s performance on an objective set of parameters, including the ease of starting and closing a business, registration of property, grant of construction permits, getting electricity connections, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, etc.

Though the survey was done before the introduction of the GST, there is every likelihood that once the initial glitches are sorted out, the next year’s survey would report further considerable improvements. The land registration and land records need special attention. But land being a State subject, it is heartening to note that several State governments have already undertaken to digitise land records.

India ranks pretty low in matters pertaining to land and construction, at 181 among 190 countries. Even when it comes to enforcing contracts, despite recent improvements, the system lags far behind.

Meanwhile, while the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, predictably, welcomed the findings of the WB survey, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s response was downright churlish. Ascribing motives to the WB and questioning the veracity of its findings showed the immaturity of the Congress’s heir apparent. Partisan politics ought not to harm the national interest, nor should it show the country in global forums in poor light.