Suggest ways to improve EoDB ranking: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the states and the central government departments to immediately analyse the World Bank’s latest report on ease of doing business, and within a month, suggest ways to improve India's ranking from a lowly 130th out of 190 countries.

The PM has asked the State chief secretaries and the secretaries in the central government departments to see to it that their analysis includedpotential areas where there was scope for improvement in their respective states and departments, according to an official statement.

It added that after the states and the central government departments submit their reports, the cabinet secretary would hold a meeting to review it.

The 130th rank that India received this year was only marginally up from its ‘revised’ rank of 131 last year. Mr. Modi is keen on ensuring that India finds a place in the top 50 in a few years.

Meanwhile, sources in the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) — the nodal agency at the Centre for ease of doing business initiatives — told The Hindu that the DIPP had already sent its observations on the World Bank report to the PM’s office and the Cabinet Secretariat.

The PM also wanted the reform process to be citizen-centric and extended to all departments of the Government, the statement said.

Nirmala Sitharaman expresses disappointment

Meanwhile, Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed disappointment at India’s low ranking of 130 out of 190 countries in the World Bank Group’s ease of doing business report, despite the reforms undertaken by the government.

However, she said there was a need to better communicate to the stakeholders the ease of doing business initiatives brought out by the government. Referring to the intense competition among nations to improve their ranking and attract more investments, the minister said it was, therefore, important to speed up reforms to help India find a place in the top 50.

“It is a bit disappointing that various measures taken by the government for ease of doing business did not get counted into the ranking this year. But the government is not criticising the World Bank's methodology,” Sitharaman told reporters.

The government had said on Tuesday that the World Bank did not consider a dozen key reforms brought out by it including the passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill by Parliament, enactment of bankruptcy code, introducing a single window system for building plan approvals as well as online EPFO and ESIC registrations.

She said the government had, at a recent meeting with the World Bank officials, pointed out the need to look at the country as a whole as well regarding ease of doing business, and not just with a focus on Mumbai and Delhi for the purpose of calculating India’s score.

However, she said, “We are motivated to achieve the Prime Minister's (Narendra Modi) vision of ensuring that India finds a place in the top 50. States are now actively engaged in ease of doing business initiatives."

"We are working as Team India to ensure that the industry and the intended beneficiaries feel the benefits of these reforms. In many cases, the intended beneficiaries not aware about the reforms and this also led to India's low ranking,” the minister said.

The minister said the Centre will soon interact more with the states to ensure that the whole process gets a "sharper focus", but said that she does not agree that there will now be a negative perception about India due to the country's low ranking.

Sitharaman said the Centre will shortly bring out state-wise ease of doing business ranking. “It is taking time as some states have sought clarifications on a few of the 340 points in the 'business reform action plan' (that the Centre circulated in October 2015)”, she said.

On other issues, Sitharaman said India and New Zealand will soon to revive talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). On the proposed mega-regional FTA called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that India is part of along with 15 other nations, Sitharaman said there will be a ministerial level meeting in early November to expedite the negotiations to liberalise trade in goods and services.

On reports of alleged illegal import of firecrackers ahead of Diwali, the minister asked the state governments to take stringent action against the wrongdoers. The Centre has not given any permission to import crackers, she said, adding that three or four big consignments have been confiscated.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 10:12:57 AM |

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