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India's Ease Of Doing Business Rank Doesn't Fully Reflect Changes On Ground: Industry

Press Trust of India
Updated: October 27, 2016 12:34 am IST

India's Ease Of Doing Business Rank Doesn't Fully Reflect Changes On Ground: Industry

The government has expressed disappointment at the rank remaining low in terms of ease of doing business.

transformation in the overall business environment following government reforms, industry bodies said on Wednesday.

They observed however that the position may improve significantly with the proposed rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from next April as well as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, likely to be implemented by coming December.

"The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings are incompletely reflective of the significant transformation in the overall business environment in key areas such as openness to FDI, online procedures, MSME facilitation and so on," CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said.

The Narendra Modi government, he said, has undertaken a strategic and comprehensive reform package over the last two and a half years which has greatly contributed to strengthening investor confidence.

"Certain reforms such as legislation of the GST, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and others may not have come within the World Bank's deadline of June 1. I am sure that the EODB rankings will align with the actual simplification and changes on the ground from next year onwards," Mr Banerjee said.

In the World Bank's latest 'Doing Business' 2017 report, India's place remained unchanged from last year's original ranking of 130 among the 190 economies that were assessed on various parameters. But the last year's ranking has been revised to 131 from which the country has improved its place by one spot.

"Though the government has made several path breaking changes in legal framework and policy prescriptions like Goods and Services Tax, changes in insolvency law, liberalisation of FDI limits and rules in a host of sectors, the impact on the ground is generally visible after a lag," said Assocham president Sunil Kanoria.

"Going forward, as these measures along with fast movement towards electronic governance kick in, India should be a far better place for the global investors to do business," he added.

He pointed out that while the indices are important, the ultimate test lies with the investors, both domestic and international, suggesting that the Centre along with states should continue to further remove the bottlenecks in the business environment.

The rankings are based on ten parameters - starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Earlier in the day, expressing disappointment at India's rank remaining low in terms of ease of doing business, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the efforts and reforms undertaken by the Centre and states have not been adequately captured in the ranking released by the World Bank.

"Wide ranging reforms have been undertaken in the last few months, that have led to improved investment climate as is evident from increased FDI inflows," said industry body Ficci.

"Ease of doing business is key to competitiveness of a business and the approach adopted by the Government is in the right direction," Ficci president Harshavardhan Neotia said.

"States need to deepen the reforms in specific areas for improving the rankings further," he added.

Grant Thornton said the country's ranking has improved "only marginally in spite of the big ticket reforms" and the government's intentions "indicating clearly" that the impact of these is yet to be felt at the operating level.

"What is of concern is the drop in India's best ranking which was protecting investors. It has seen a drop from 7 and 8 in the past 2 years to 13 indicating other countries have improved," said Harish HV, partner-India leadership team at Grant Thornton India LLP.

India's Ease Of Doing Business Rank Doesn't Fully Reflect Changes On Ground: Industry
Doing Business report: India ‘won’t be hit by data issues reported by World Bank’
Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 28, 2020 Published on August 28, 2020

Data relate to rankings of 2018 and 2020; India not among the marked nations

India is unlikely to be affected by the irregularities reported in the data used by the World Bank to prepare the Ease of Doing Business ranking. Late on Thursday, the World Bank had disclosed issues with the data and announced pausing the publication of the ‘Doing Business’ report.
“The incidence of data irregularity relates to China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Azerbaijan,” a source said while making it clear that India does not figure anywhere in it.

Out of 190 countries, India stood was ranked 63 in 2020 against 142 in 2014. It has been eyeing a slot in the top 50 with stepped up reforms.
“We are not worried about the World Bank’s reported decision on taking a relook at previous ‘Doing Business’ reports as India is not one of the marked countries,” said a senior official of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Ranking may improve
“On the contrary, if you go by international media reports, the four countries that have been highlighted as the ones that might be affected are all ranked above India. So, if anything, India’s ranking might improve if the others rankings are lowered.”
“Since we have improved our governance and reforms, our ranking will improve automatically not just in the World Bank study but also in others such as the Global Competitive Index,” he emphasised.
“The reform process is not confined to Mumbai and Delhi (which were covered in the World Bank analysis). If we were bothered only about the World Bank ranking, we would have focussed only on Delhi and Maharashtra. However, we have made it a pan-India exercise. We do State-wise ranking on the same criteria as the World Bank,” the official further said.

World Bank reviewing data
The World Bank said a number of irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business reports of 2018 and 2020, published in October 2017 and 2019, respectively.
Reiterating the integrity and impartiality of data and analysis as paramount, the World Bank said: “We have asked the Group’s independent internal audit function to perform an audit of the processes for data collection and review the last five ‘Doing Business’ reports and the controls to safeguard data integrity.” Based on the findings, it will retrospectively correct data of countries most affected by the irregularities.

Doing Business report: India ‘won’t be hit by data issues reported by World Bank’
Ease of Doing Business in an uneasy India hides, not reveals

This high ranking should be seen in the context of India’s dismal 143rd rank in Index of Economic Freedom and 79th rank in Corruption Perceptions Index. We need to look at a business environment from multiple perspectives to gain a broader understanding of what is happening on the ground.

Written by Salman Anees Soz | Updated: November 1, 2017 9:18:05 am

Ease of doing business, world bank report, india's rank, World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018 report, business rankings, Indian express opinion, indian express

The World Bank report acknowledges the methodological challenges of such a large exercise. (File photo)
The World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018 report ranks India at 100 out of 190 countries, an improvement of 30 positions over last year’s ranking. This is a big improvement, one that I have no problem in acknowledging and welcoming. Had the ranking not improved substantially, I would have been among the first to criticize the government. After improving by a mere 1 spot in last year’s report, Prime Minister Modi tasked the Niti Aayog with ensuring a better ranking this year and the Aayog delivered. The Prime Minister and the BJP, facing much scrutiny over economic mismanagement, are celebrating. However, let me sound a cautionary note about the celebrations and also the deeper issues that any cross-country comparison will not adequately capture.
When staff at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, first conceptualized the Doing Business report, I was a young officer at the World Bank. After the first few rounds, it became clear that these rankings had a signalling effect for investors and that countries were beginning to take them seriously. Sitting in meetings during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., I would often be amused by how government officials from a variety of countries would get worked up and complain to my bosses about how their countries had been treated unfairly. One of the common complaints would be about the report’s methodology as well as its failure to recognize what government officials considered “reforms”. Internally, many World Bank staff expressed concerns about the methodology as well as the fact that governments were focusing more on improving their ranking as opposed to fixing ground realities. Over time, however, these rankings became a popular tool for nudging countries towards business-friendly reforms.

There is no question that any report that tries to capture reforms across the diversity of nations is extremely difficult to conceptualize and implement. The World Bank report acknowledges the methodological challenges of such a large exercise. Over the last several years, there have been concerns that some countries are trying to game the rankings. In fact, India’s 30-point improvement in one year is not unique. Russia gained 30 spots in the Doing Business 2014 report compared to the 2013 report. This came after President Vladimir Putin ordered his officials to ensure Russia improves its ranking from 118 in 2012 to 50 by 2015 and 20 by 2018. Russia currently sits in the 35th spot just one spot below Japan and ahead of several Western European economies.
But this high ranking should be seen in the context of Russia’s dismal 114th rank in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom (India ranks 143rd) and 131st rank in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (India ranks 79th). This suggests that we need to look at a business environment from multiple perspectives to gain a broader understanding of what is happening on the ground.
The other challenge with interpreting “ease of doing business” rankings is to understand what exactly is being ranked. In India’s case, the business environment in only Delhi and Mumbai are used to compile the national ranking. This has always been the case, even though there will be more cities included in future rankings. These rankings also focus a lot more on the laws and rules that are on the books and do not necessarily capture the daily experiences of businesses. We may hear a lot of complaints about demonetisation or GST implementation but that is beyond the scope of the current report. This disconnect between what policies the government enacts versus what we see and feel in our daily experience is a built-in feature of these rankings. To demonstrate this point, I will take two examples of reforms that helped India improve its ranking this year.
The government initiated an online single window clearance system for faster approvals of building plans. This will presumably lead to obtaining building permits faster. This is good. However, while this reform is recognized by the World Bank’s report, the reality of Mumbai being in the midst of its worst ever property slump won’t be captured. Is it good to have a faster permit system? Absolutely. Is that all there is to it? Absolutely not. In the second example, the report indicates that India “strengthened access to credit by amending the rules on priority of secured creditors outside reorganization proceedings and adopting a new insolvency and bankruptcy code that introduced a reorganization procedure for corporate debtors”. Clearly, this is a reform and should be welcomed. But, as with most things, implementation matters greatly. Remember, we are currently going through one of the worst periods for credit growth since independence.
The government is right to celebrate what it considers an affirmation of some of its policies. But I must caution, as I have done elsewhere, that we need to move beyond optics to really focus on improving the lives of ordinary Indians and the felt experience of millions of businesses that may not be reflected in the World Bank’s report. Hubris can lead Prime Minister Modi and BJP to a repeat of the ill-fated India Shining campaign.
But, I am not concerned with BJP’s electoral losses. In fact, I would welcome that. But I worry more about the millions of young people who face enormous pressures on the jobs front and the millions more who remain desperately poor or are vulnerable to falling into poverty. When all is said and done, Indians care most about their daily experience. Their own relative experience, year after year, is what our government should ultimately focus on, rather than worry about looking good internationally.

Ease of Doing Business in an uneasy India hides, not reveals