29.10.14

Moving up to the premier League

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India eyes better ‘doing business’ ranking

 

By Times of India and Bharti Jain

India has set a target of making it to the top 50 countries in the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business' index by 2016. The groundwork has begun with the department of industrial policy (DIPP) on Tuesday approving a three to six month timeframe for various government ministries/departments to implement a slew of regulatory reforms, aimed at making India an attractive investment destination. 
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India had figured at 134th position in World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" ratings for 2014, behind China (96th rank), Pakistan (110) and Bangladesh (130). However, the 2014 rankings for all the nations were benchmarked to June 2013. "We are already in the middle of the financial year 2014-15. The World Bank's 2015 ratings are likely to be benchmarked to June 2014. Given that it will take the government up to six months to implement reforms such as reducing time for registering a business from 27 days to 1 day, single registration for all labour laws and an overhaul of tax systems, the improved investment climate may reflect only in the 2016 ratings," said a senior government official, who was part of the meeting that approved DIPP's proposed timeline for unshackling the regulatory regime. 
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The DIPP will be closely monitoring the timelines set for various ministries to ease regulatory norms. Improving the investment climate in the country is a key priority area for the Narendra Modi government as it plots a strategy to boost growth, which has slowed to below 5% for two consecutive years. 

Investors have often complained about the red tape that acts as an obstacle to setting up business in the country. From getting a electricity connection to construction permits, it can be a harrowing experience for an entrepreneur. The new government wants to change that perception as it tries to boost growth and create jobs in Asia's third -largest economy.



Under the plan being discussed, the DIPP, which has been designated as the nodal agency for removing the barriers, has identified a list of issues from various ministries/departments, which need to be addressed to improve India's ranking. They have also cited best practices from several countries around the globe to undertake this initiative. Departments have been asked to work on "war footing" to ensure that the Prime Minister's promise of taking the country to the top 50 rankings is met within a reasonable timeframe and the country is able to attract investors from across the globe.

The need to cut through red tape also stems from the government's push to the manufacturing sector and its call to "Make in India".