A day after the World Bank released its Ease of Doing Business 2016 report, Department Of Industrial Policy & Promotion secretary Amitabh Kant tells Shruti Srivastava that more reforms are underway and the full impact of undertaken reforms will get reflected in the next year’s report. Excerpts:
The government had said that the country’s ranking will improve significantly in 2016. Do you think the improvement shown is satisfactory?
Of course, we were expecting this. No country has ever improved by 10 positions so the jump is substantial. The challenge is to take India to top 50 in 3-4 years. The World Bank study is based on usage. Now the World bank could take into account the usage during a very short period of time. So due to poor usage, the reforms undertaken have not been fully reflected. Reforms in EPFO, construction permits, reduction in time in trading across borders will get reflected this year and will be visible next year. The fact that India was mentioned separately for its reforms is a great achievement. Now we are working on institutional changes like setting up National Company Law Tribunal and bringing in bankruptcy code for easy entry and exit, establishment of commercial courts. This should improve the ranking next year and hopefully we will break in the top 100.
Critics are saying that India has moved only four positions if one takes into account the revised ratings of 2015 …
Comparison can be done only year-on-year. Methodologies change every year but that does not mean that one will overlook the substantial progress made. Many methods of the World Bank also changed because of our request and efforts. So it is wrong to say this. The three classic cases are Rwanda, Russia and Croatia. All of them improved only 3 places in the first year of reforms. It took them 6-7 years to break into the top 50. We are therefore in right direction.
Have states shown enthusiasm in changing in business environment?
States have radically changed in the way they function. This year we have given them
340 pointers, they are all working towards it and that will spur much greater change. World Bank focuses only on Delhi and Mumbai. But all the states need to bring about reforms for moving up the ladder. Every state should aspire to be like Singapore which has consistently maintained its first position for some time now. Even if 15 states follow Singapore, India’s overall ranking will change radically.
What more needs to be done to bring India in the top 50 position as aspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
While changes have been made in the construction permit system, more can be done.