Expressing disappointment over the World Bank’s recently released ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, “One must realise that these rankings are relative rankings. Every country makes an effort to improve the ease of doing business in their own country, we are also one of them. Sometimes others are faster than us, this time that may be true.”
However, Sitharaman is of the view that the multitude of reforms that have been introduced, are yet to reach the beneficiaries – that are businesses. “…more importantly, many of the steps that we have taken, have been well after the deadline of the World Bank. Secondly, many of the steps that the central government has taken, the state governments have also moved very quickly on that it, still takes a while for the industries to feel the benefit of it,” Sitharaman told ET Now. “So when the respondents answer the World Bank queries, even though the central and state governments have passed laws or reforms, the benefits would not have been received by the respondents. There are time lags which are to be kept in mind. And many of the steps that we are taking are for the short-term and for the medium and long-term as well. So, the impact will only be felt with a time lag,” she said.
Asked whether PM Modi’s goal of achieving an ‘ease of doing business’ rank of less than 50 is attainable in the next one year, Sitharaman said, “That is a goal that we will be working to achieve and I will definitely put more energy. I will work with the states to ensure that we move rapidly in such a way that we are able to reach the Prime Minister’s desired goal, because that is a goal for the country.”
In disappointing news, India continues to rank low at the 130th position in terms of ease of doing business. In the latest World Bank rankings, India saw little or no improvement in dealing with construction permits, getting credit and other parameters. In the World Bank’s latest ‘Doing Business’ report, India’s place remained unchanged from last year’s original ranking of 130 among the 190 economies that were assessed on various parameters. However, the last year’s ranking has been now revised to 131 from which the country has improved its place by one spot. The government on its part has also regretted that the report did not take into consideration 12 key reforms undertaken by it. Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek said a dozen of important reforms like enactment of bankruptcy code, GST, introduction of single window system for building plan approvals and online ESIC and EPFO registrations were not “recognised by the World Bank this year”.
(With inputs from PTI)