India top reformer in trading across borders

Written by Economy Bureau | New Delhi, Sep 26 | Updated: Sep 27 2007, 04:39am hrs
India is now setting the standard for reforms in South Asia, with an explicit policy objective to become a leading business-friendly economy, says the Doing Business 2008 the fifth in an annual report series issued by the World Bank and IFC. Besides making it easier to trade across borders, India increased access to credit by expanding credit bureau coverage to individuals as well as businesses. It also introduced an electronic registry for security rights granted by companies

South Asia picked up the pace of regulatory reform over the past year to become the second-fastest reforming region in the world, on a par with the speed of reforms in the countries of the OECD, finds Doing Business 2008. The pickup in reforms in South Asia was led by India which rose 12 places to the 120th rank on the ease of doing business and made the reforms of business regulation a policy objective. India was the top reformer worldwide in trading across borders. Last year South Asia ranked lowest on the rate of reforms; this year two-thirds of its countries had at least one reform.

But despite these gains, Indias ranking is significantly lower than most other south Asia nations. The south Asian countries ahead of India in ranking include Bhutan (119), Nepal (111), Bangladesh (107), Sri Lanka (101) Pakistan (76) and Maldives (60). Only Afghanistan was placed below India in the 159th position.

The report finds the time to obtain a business licence in India ranges from 159 days in Bhubaneswar to 522 in Ranchi. The time to register property ranges from 35 days in Hyderabad to 155 in Calcutta. If the top score among Indian cities in each of the Doing Business indicators were used for the country as a whole, India would rise 55 places in the aggregate country rankings.