Just behind Singapore, Brazil and South Africa, India is at the 25th slot in terms of development, according to the survey conducted by the Transformation Index, a study of market economics and democracy in 125 transformation states published today in Berlin by the independent German Bertelsmann Foundation. Evaluating the management performance of India's political decision makers, the study placed the country on 19th position.
However, for the first time, India appears in the group of stable democracies and thus leaves the quartet of deficient democracies consisting of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
The study lauded the country's efforts to achieve peaceful integration of ethnic minorities and its international cooperation with its regional partners, particularly Pakistan.
However, continuing weaknesses include a cumbersome justice system and inadequate protection of civil rights in conflict regions, it added.
Recommending that India should continue to pursue economic reforms rigorously to sustain its growth rate of eight per cent, the evaluation said the country is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic national economies in the world, but deficiencies in the area of reform have threatened to block this development.
It is essential to curtail unproductive subventions, along with reducing the existing household deficit, it noted, adding that a need for reform also exists in the adaptation of legal controls governing occupational safety, property ownership and bankruptcy to bring them into line with international standards.
The modernisation and expansion of a still underdeveloped infrastructure also demands considerable efforts, the report said.
Looking at the evaluation, Bertelsmann Foundation's Josef Janning said, ''The plans of the Indian government to shape the country to become a developed economy and a key player in international politics are now bearing fruit. India should also exploit this favourable situation to increase efforts to tackle its greatest problem--the continuingly pronounced inequalities in society, particularly in terms of education, health, social security and earnings.'' ''The creation of a greater equilibrium between the regions and enabling as many people as possible to share in economic success should be central objectives of future policy,'' he added.
With regard to the quality of social market economics, only Singapore has managed to reach the peak in a regional comparison with China and India, closely followed by South Korea and Taiwan.
Measured on the realisation of democratic standards, Taiwan leads in the regional ranking, closely followed by South Korea, the study found.