Pakistan improves its ranking in World Bank's Doing Business Report 2019

A view of Nairobi at night

Addressing the media on the back of India's rise in Ease of Doing Business, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lauded Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for cracking the code by which countries are ranked. Since then, Israel has slipped in the rankings, reaching 54th place past year.

"It was a big corruption issue, but there has been a record improvement in ranking", Jaitley said, also noting that India needs major reforms in the "Starting of Business" criterion, in which it takes up the 137th spot, only a few notches higher than 158th in 2014.

"The ultimate objective is to go to the top of the list", he added.

The World Bank ranks 190 countries based on 10 parameters, including starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

In its annual report, the World Bank said overall, the BRIC economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China - improved their average ease of doing business score by a combined total of nearly 19 points across various areas of business regulation. India is now recognised as among top ten improvers for the 2nd consecutive year.

India was ranked at the 142nd position among 190 nations when the Modi government came to power in 2014. "It is also reflected in the government's strong commitment to broaden the business reforms agenda at the state and now even at the district level", said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. In addition, Mumbai abolished the practice of site inspections for registering companies under the Shops and Establishments Act. As a result, the time to start a business was reduced from 20 days to 17 days, while the cost was reduced from 7.9 per cent of the income per capita to 6.8 per cent.

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With streamlining of processes, India made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit.

The government also introduced the reorganisation procedure and improved the continuation of the debtors' business during insolvency (bankruptcy) proceedings for Karachi and Lahore.

In a near repeat of its performance a year ago, India now stands at 77 among 190 countries assessed by the multilateral lender.

While there has been substantial progress, India still lags in areas such as Enforcing Contracts (ranked 163 globally) and Registering Property (166).

Regarding getting electricity, newly-adopted regulations from the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission require that electrical connections be completed within 15 days of the application's acceptance. And, it takes 1,445 for a company to resolve a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court, nearly 3 times more than the 582 days needed in high income OECD economies.

India improved on six of the 10 metrics tracked by the World Bank, including obtaining credit and construction permits. Today, we are at rank 77. "India made paying taxes easier by replacing many indirect taxes with a single indirect tax, the GST, for the entire country".

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