World Business

India jumps higher in World Bank's ranking of how easy it is to do business


India climbed 23 spots from a year ago to rank 77 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s latest report on the ease of doing business.

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It was also among the top 10 most improved economies along with countries such as China, Djibouti and Azerbaijan, according to the “Doing Business 2019” report.

The ease of doing business in India improved notably after a series of reforms made it easier for companies to get construction permits, pay taxes and trade across borders, the report said.

Entrepreneurs were able to start a business more easily after India integrated multiple application forms into a general incorporation form, the World Bank noted. Reforms also “streamlined the process of obtaining a building permit and made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit.”

Last year, the country amended its insolvency and bankruptcy code which prevented willful defaulters from buying up any of their own troubled assets at discounted rates. That strengthened access to credit as “secured creditors are now given absolute priority over other claims within insolvency proceedings,” the World Bank report said.

Other areas of improvement included simplifying India’s complex tax structure that made it easier to pay taxes. Initiatives implemented under the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan 2017-2020 improved the efficiency of cross-border trading and reduced the time taken to meet compliance requirements, the report said.

India has steadily moved up the ranking since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came into power and implemented a series of major reforms.

Modi said on Twitter that he was “delighted” by the ranking while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reportedly told a news conference that India can crack the top 50 if it further improved the time taken for registering properties, starting a business and enforcing contracts.

“The jump in India’s ranking under the [World Bank] ease of doing business is a recognition of recent progressive reforms,” Radhika Rao, an economist with DBS Bank, told CNBC. “This improvement is commendable and timely, even if the benefits of these long-term focused and social plumbing reforms might not buoy growth in the immediate term.”

India is currently battling a volatile rupee and a widening current account deficit while gearing up for next year’s general elections.

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