India in top 50 rank on this list? "The impossible now looks plausible," says Arun Jaitley

ZeeBiz WebTeam | Nov 01, 2018, 08:33 PM IST

India breaking into the top 50 spot on the World Bank's ease of doing business index now looks "plausible", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Thursday, a day after the country recorded a significant jump in the global rankings. In the 2019 ranking, New Zealand tops the list, followed by Singapore, Denmark and Hong Kong. The United States is placed 8th and China ranked at 46th. Neighbouring Pakistan is placed at 136.


India leaped 23 places to the 77th position among 190 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business report 2019. During the four years of the BJP-led NDA government, the ranking has improved by 65 notches.


The minister noted that the previous Congress-led UPA had a miserable track record and during the five years of UPA-II, India's ranking declined from 132 to 142. Here is what Jaitley said in a blog:


On parameters like 'payment of taxes' and 'resolving insolvency', the GST and NCLT mechanisms are in place, he said. Early results seem to be quite encouraging and when this full year's performance is taken into consideration, it would be logical to assume that India will move up significantly in these two categories, he said.


"The other area where India has to make a special effort to further improve is in relation to 'starting a business'. Current year our ranking of 137 has improved by 21 position in the last four years.


"It is still not a satisfactory position. There are several processes which are relevant both at the level of the Central Government and the State Governments. Much improvement is required in these areas," Jaitley said.


He further said there has to be an emphasis on reducing the time period for any business activity, reducing the cost involved and cutting down the number of procedures.


"This by itself is not formidable task. If we are able to keep the present pace of reforms in the above areas, the targets set by the Prime Minister would start looking a modest one. Only a focussed and a purpose oriented Government could have achieved this," the minister said.


Jaitley said there is a 65-point improvement in ease of doing business index in the first four years, though India is still 27 positions away from the target of getting into the top 50.


"The impossible now looks plausible," he added. Jaitley exuded confidence that if the country is able to keep the present pace of reforms, the targets set by the Prime Minister would start looking like a modest one. 
"Only a focussed and a purpose oriented Government could have achieved this," he said.


Referring to the previous government, he said during the ten years of the UPA, India witnessed "high level of corruption, policy paralysis and abandonment of all reforms".


During UPA-II's five-year tenure, India witnessed global rankings of 134, 132, 132, 134 and finally 142 and this was UPA's "miserable" track record, he said.


"India was the most difficult to do business with. Investors were wary of coming to India. On the contrary, there was a reverse flight of capital from India by the investors," Jaitley said.