India continues to be a tough place for doing business even as the country has improved regulator processes for starting enterprises and trading across borders,according to World Bank and IFC.
In terms of ease of doing business,India is ranked 132nd among 185 countries. The nation’s position for 2013 is unchanged from 2012.
Singapore is at the top position,followed by ‘Hong Kong SAR,China’ at second place and New Zealand at third spot. Other nations in the top 10 are the US (4th),Denmark (5th),the UK (7th),Norway (6th),Korea (8th),Georgia (9th) and Australia (10th).
India is the lowest ranked among BRIC nations. Brazil (130th),Russia (112nd),China (91th) and ‘Taiwan,China” (16th).
India is also below neighbouring Pakistan (107th) and Nepal (108th).
Titled ‘Doing Business 2013 Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises’,the report said that local entrepreneurs in developing countries are finding it easier to do business than at any time in the last ten years.
The ease of doing business in the developing world reflects the significant progress that has been made in improving business regulatory practices worldwide,it added.
“India focused mostly on simplifying and reducing cost of regulatory processes in such areas as starting a business,paying taxes and trading across borders,” the report said.
The rankings are based on various factors — starting a business,dealing with construction permits,getting electricity,registering property,getting credit,protecting
investors,paying taxes,trading across borders,enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
Only on two fronts — dealing with construction permits and registering property — India has improved its position in 2013 report compared to 2012. The ranking has remained unchanged in terms of getting credit and enforcing contracts.
According to the World Bank and its group entity International Finance Corp (IFC),India and China rank among the top 50 improvers and both the countries have been top improvers in its region since 2005.
The World Bank-IFC report marks 10th edition of Doing Business series.
“Over the past decade,these reports have recorded nearly 2,000 regulatory reforms implemented by 180 economies. The reforms have yielded major benefits for local entrepreneurs across the globe,” it added.
Going by the report,a study in India found that progressive elimination of the “licence raj – the system regulating entry and production in industry- led to a six
per cent increase in new firm registrations”.
Citing another study,it said that simpler entry regulation and labour market flexibility were complementary while a third study found that the licensing reform resulted in an aggregate productivity increase of 22 per cent among the firms affected.
Similarly,a study in India found evidence that local governments’ responsiveness to newspaper reports on drops in food production and food damage to crops is more pronounced where elections loom close,political competition is strong and voter turnout high.
“In short,information is more powerful when it is complemented by incentives that hold officials accountable,” the report emphasised.
The Corporate Affairs Ministry has set up a committee,headed by former Sebi chief M Damodaran,to suggest ways to improve the country’s regulatory environment for business activities. The panel held its first meeting on October 11.
The Indian economy is grappling with sluggish growth amid European debt turmoil and high inflationary pressure.