India today is a substantially easier place to do business than it was a year ago, the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report said. The 15th edition of its annual study that rates 190 countries on ease of starting and running businesses has placed India at 100, 30 ranks higher than last year.
India's business environment improved at the fifth fastest pace in the world in the past 12 months, though it still ranks lower than other large emerging economies like China, Russia and South Africa. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia too are ranked higher than India. Among the top improvers, India implemented the maximum reforms after Brunei Darussalam, the WB study said.
“It has never been easier to do business in India,“ PM Narendra Modi tweeted after the report was out. Pleased with the World Bank study saying that India has become a much easier place to do business, PM Modi tweeted, “India welcomes the world to explore economic opportunities our nation has to offer...Over the last three years, we have seen a spirit of positive competition among states towards making business easier.“ He promised to take steps to further improve the ranking.
Soon after coming into office in 2014, Modi had set an ambitious target of being among the top 50 countries in the Bank's ranking in three years. “That is doable and we will work on that with greater force,“ finance minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.
The rankings will offer some respite to the Modi government which has been attacked by political rivals, led by the Congress, for making it difficult for small businesses to stay afloat after demonetisation and introduction of GST. The World Bank study showed that India had made significant gains on eight of the 10 parameters that underlie a country's rank. Paying taxes and resolving insolvency were areas where the maximum progress was made.
“The focus is on rolling out the red carpet for entrepreneurs. The ranking shows reforms are contributing to India closing the gap with the world's best on almost all indicators. We are committed to maintaining the momentum to ensure that India makes it to the top 50 in the next two-three years,“ said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.