New Delhi, Sep 10 (UNI) An IFC-World Bank Report on 'Doing Business 2009' released here today shows India slipping two notches from its position a year ago to rank 122nd among 181 countries, and below its neighbours including Pakistan, Bangaladesh and Nepal.
The Report which ranks the country on the basis of ease of doing business has placed Nepal above India at 121st position, Bangladesh at 110th place and Pakistan at 77th place in the overall ranking.
The 2008 report had ranked India at 120th position, while Pakistan was at 74th place.
The rankings do not, however, reflect such areas as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates.
Singapore retained the first place in ranking, which measures 'Doing business' on parameters that provide quantitative measure of regulation for starting a business, getting credit, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and closing a business.
For the fifth year in a row, Eastern Europe and Central Asia led the world in business reforms.
Since 2004, 'Doing Business' has been tracking reforms aimed at simplifying business regulations, strengthening property rights, opening up access to credit and enforcing contracts by measuring their impact on 10 indicator sets.
Nearly 1,000 reforms with an impact on these indicators have been captured. Eastern Europe and Central Asia has accounted for a third of them.
An interesting fact, however, is that many of India's neighbours have slipped this time from their previous rankings.
The Report says India speeded up trade reforms and lists Sri Lanka as South Asia's leading reformer of business regulations.
The Report says Export-Import procedures have been made easier in India and makes a speacial mention for the country's Electronic Date Inter-change (EDI) system making possible for exporters to submit forms online to customs.
''Regulatory reforms in South Asia continued this year,'' The Report, sixth in an annual series, says.
A separate subnational 'Doing Business' Report on the country will track the time and cost required to meet government regulations in 16 Indian cities and states. ''The aim is to encourage cities to bring about changes that improve their competitiveness nationally and globally and that attract more businesses,'' the Report says.
Sri Lanka made it easier to obtain credit by strengthening the legal rights of creditors and enhancing the availability of credit information.
Bangladesh reduced the time for registering property by almost half and simplified business start-up.
Bhutan made contract enforcement through the courts easier.
No reforms were recorded in Pakistan this year, but the government has a 'Doing Business' study underway to track business regulations in 12 cities. The goal is to facilitate the sharing of best practices locally and foster cooperation among various levels of government.
''South Asian countries are increasingly committed to agendas for business-friendly reforms,'' said Sabine Hertveldt, a co-author of the report.
''They are also getting inspiration from other economies that have made regulatory reforms and by benchmarking local best practices.'' Singapore leads the global rankings on the overall regulatory ease of doing business for a third consecutive year. New Zealand is runner-up, and the United States third.
''Economies need rules that are efficient, easy to use, and accessible to all who use them. Otherwise, businesses get trapped in the unregulated, informal economy where they have less access to finance and hire fewer workers, and where workers lack the protection of labour law,'' said Michael Klein, World Bank-IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development.
''Doing Business encourages good rules, and good rules are a better basis for healthy business than 'who you know', he added.
The top 25 countries, in order, are-- Singapore, New Zealand, the US, Hong Kong (China), Denmark, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Japan, Thailand, Finland, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Bahrain, Belgium, Malaysia, Switzerland, Estonia, Korea, Mauritius, and Germany.
UNI GS SR HT2000