Conscious of the fact that the World Bank takes into account feedback from actual beneficiaries while ranking countries on the ease of doing business (EoDB) and doesn’t just go by official notifications on reforms, the government has, for the first time, roped in two entities to sensitise relevant stakeholders about its reform initiatives.
“We have appointed the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Productivity Council to sensitise actual users and get their feedback on various reform measures,” a senior official with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) told FE.
This marks a shift in the way India has been looking at the World Bank’s ranking after questioning for years the methodology adopted by the multilateral body (although in recent years, the government has taken care to cut down on criticism). While some of India’s concerns on the methodology still persist and are even backed by industry bodies (for instance, the World Bank’s choice of surveying just two destinations — Delhi and Mumbai —for ranking India), the greater focus on sensitising actual users will help in terms of taking reforms to the ground level and improving its position in the World Bank index. The move came after the country’s latest ranking barely improved from the previous year to 130th among 190 nations surveyed by the World Bank.
A senior UNDP official said the objective of the assignment is to “conduct a survey, obtain beneficiary feedback and provide the analysis covering all states (including Delhi and Maharashtra — the destinations the World Bank surveys) to the DIPP on the identified parameters of the EoDB”. The beneficiaries will be asked to give feedback on the implementation of reforms, steps taken to improve the business climate and changes that the reforms have brought in, said the UNDP official.
You may also like to watch this
The assessment of the implementation of the EoDB is being conducted for the 10 indicators — starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
The assessment by these agencies, especially UNDP, will reflect feedback of facilitators as well as beneficiaries, including architects, electricity contractors, industry associations, local bodies, builders, structural engineers, contractors, lawyers, chartered accountants, industry association, large private-sector companies, MSME and women entrepreneurs.
DIPP holds meetings with states
The DIPP held meetings with states starting February 15 on a 295-point reform agenda for them to boost their ranking in the EoDB this year, listing dramatic improvement in parameters — including starting a business, electricity connections and granting clearances across various sectors — as key targets, official sources said. The final agenda will be ready within a week, they said. Among the key targets in the 295-point agenda, states are asked to facilitate the starting of a company in just six days, compared with an average of 26 days now. States need to provide electricity connections within just seven days under normal circumstances (against around 15 days now) and in 15 days in right-of-way cases. States were given a 340-point reform agenda last year and a 98-point one in the previous year when the ranking was done for the first time.