'Not impossible for India to be in top 100 for doing business'

Washington, Oct 28: It is not impossible for India to be in top 100 ranking of ease of doing business report next year if it continues with its set of planned economic reforms, including the crucial GST and cuts down on the bureaucratic cost of doing business, a top World Bank economist has said.

"If the changes that we saw thus far can be kept up and strengthened a little, it is not impossible for India to be in top 100 (ranking of the ease of doing business report) by next year," the World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Kaushik Basu told PTI.


"There are countries which have moved 30-40 places at one go, but usually these are small countries. For a big economy like India, it is difficult, but from what we have seen thus far, it is not impossible," Basu said after the World Bank in its report released yesterday said that India jumped 12 places in the ease of doing business from 142 last year to 130 this year. Basu, who served as the top economic advisor during the previous Manmohan Singh government, described this as a "remarkable achievement" for a country of the size of Indian economy and that too in the first year of the reform.

"We have usually seen in other countries when the reforms start, in the first year, you get a small movement then in the second and third year, you get a big movement. And India had a reasonably substantial movement in the first year itself. So one is very hopeful," he said. However, he felt there is still a long way to go.

"There is a lot of serious interest in India to cut down bureaucratic costs of doing business for small and medium-sized firms. It is important however to recognise that this is just a start. There is still a long way to go," he said. Responding to a question, Basu said there are three areas where India needs reforms and initiatives.

"First, India needs to cut down transactions costs and the bureaucratic hurdles it places on individuals and small enterprises. As I just said, there is reason for optimism on this," he said.

"Second, India needs better infrastructure—roads, railways, ports. There has already been improvement in infrastructural investment. But the momentum needs to be kept up," he added.

"And, third, is inclusiveness. India is a diverse society and you have to have policies so that all groups feel included, and part of society. This entails health and educational interventions for the disadvantaged," he said. "Inclusiveness goes beyond economics, but, done well, it can yield rich dividends for the economy," he said.


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