India jumped 23 ranks in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 to 77. It ranked 100 in the 2017 report.
The Index ranks 190 countries across 10 indicators ranged across the lifecycle of a business from 'starting a business' to 'resolving insolvency'.
“India’s strong reform agenda to improve the business climate for small and medium enterprises is bearing fruit. 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 a press release. “Going forward, a continuation of this effort will help India maintain its goal of strong and sustained economic growth and we look forward to recording these successes in the years ahead."
"The improvement in rankings is excellent news for India, and good news for the business community," Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said at a press conference. "I'm sure we will continue to improve it more and more."
Mr. Prabhu said that there were several initiatives by the government in the works that would further ease doing business, such as enabling export and import using only a mobile phone.
"The government will get out of business and allow people to conduct their business," the Commerce Minister added.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed out that, since the World Bank sets May 1 as the deadline for measurement, there are several initiatives taken by the government that will only reflect in next year's rankings including the effects of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the full effect of the Goods and Services Tax.
He noted that, despite the sharp improvement India has made in several of the categories in the Index, there were others such as registering a property, starting a business, taxation, insolvency, and enforcing a contract where a lot of work still needs to be done.
"During the past year, India made Starting a Business easier by fully integrating multiple application forms into a general incorporation form," the World Bank said in a release. "India also replaced the value added tax with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for which the registration process is faster in both Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities measured by the Doing Business report. 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 has been halved to 16 days, from 30 days."
India moved from rank 184 in 2014 to 52 in 2018 in the construction permits category, 137 to 24 in getting electricity, 126 to 80 in trading across borders, 156 to 121 in paying taxes, 137 to 108 in resolving Insolvency, 186 to 163 in enforcing contracts, 158 to 137 in starting a business, and 36 to 22 in getting credit.
“The upward movement in India’s ranking is as expected," Vishwas Udgirkar, Partner, Deloitte India said in a note. "This has been on back of overall reforms driven by the government, and to a large extent, use of digital and technology leading to process improvement. The country is on the right track in adopting technology and innovations in business processes. Government efforts to this end are laudable. Government’s thrust on infrastructure development to promote trade and business, especially logistics and supply chain centred initiatives, as also overall fiscal reforms including bankruptcy code, are showing results."