Skip to main content

Half of India's health facilities have no access to electricity: World Bank report on "ease" of doing business

By Rajiv Shah
Even as ranking India 130th in the ease of doing business among 189 countries, up from 134th a year ago, the latest World Bank report, “Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency” has quietly suggested that all’s not well on the social front in India. It has pointed towards “unreliable electricity supply”, which has adverse “consequences for a society’s well-being and living conditions.”
Comparing India with Kenya, the report states, “25% of health facilities in Kenya can count on a reliable power supply” , and suggests India not far behind (page 72 of the 338-page report.
“In India nearly half of health facilities have no access to electricity at all”, the report insists, adding, “Most public services are compromised when power shuts down. And outages can pose a threat to personal safety—such as by putting out streetlights and traffic lights and by disabling burglar alarms in homes.”
Interestingly, the World Bank remark has been made alongside its effort to highlight how India has done considerably well in the category Getting Electricity in the overall performance of ease of doing business. In fact, in the category Getting Electricity, India has been found to have jumped by a whopping 29 points from 99th to 70th.
The other important category in which India has registered a jump is Starting a Business – from 164th to 155th position, by nine points.
Measuring 10 categories, in rest of the eight categories measured for ease of doing business, the report either there finds stagnation or deceleration.
Thus, in the category Dealing with Construction Permits, India improves by just one point, from 184th to 183rd, remaining one of the worst in the world. And, in Registering Properties, India’s ranking has been found to have dropped from 36th to 42nd, a fall of six points. In yet another category, in Paying Taxes, India’s ranking dropped by point by a point, from 156th to 157th which is again one of the worst in the world. 
Interestingly, in half of the 10 categories analyzed – Registering Property (rank 138th), Protecting Minority Investors (eighth), Trading Across Borders (133rd), Enforcing Contracts (178th), and Resolving Solvency (136th) – the report has found that there is no change in a year.
Source: World Bank report
Even then, singling out India’s reform measures as “exemplary”, the report states, “Just as Georgia stands out in Europe and Central Asia for having made big strides toward better and more efficient business regulation, at least one economy stands out in every other region for its improvement in the areas measured by Doing Business: Rwanda in Sub-Saharan Africa; Colombia in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Arab Republic of Egypt in the Middle East and North Africa; China in East Asia and the Pacific; India in South Asia; and Poland in the OECD high-income group.”
“Still”, the report warns, “While reforming in the areas measured by Doing Business is important, doing so is not enough to guarantee sound economic policies or to ensure economic growth or development.”
Praising the Modi government, which came to power in May 2014, the report states, “In 2014 the government of India launched an ambitious program of regulatory reform aimed at making it easier to do business. Spanning a range of areas measured by Doing Business, the programme represents a great deal of effort to create a more business-friendly environment.”
“One important focus is to make starting a business easier”, the report states, adding, “In May 2015 the government adopted amendments to the Companies Act that eliminated the minimum capital requirement. Now Indian entrepreneurs no longer need to deposit 100,000 Indian rupees ($1,629)—equivalent to 111% of income per capita—in order to start a local limited liability company.”
“The amendments also ended the requirement to obtain a certificate to commence business operations, saving business founders an unnecessary step and five days”, it says.
Other reform measures the report notes include developing a single application form for new firms and introducing online registration for tax identification numbers, the process for getting a new electricity connection simpler and faster, a single-window system for processing building permit applications, and fostering an environment more supportive of private sector activity.
“If the efforts are sustained over the next several years, they could lead to substantial benefits for Indian entrepreneurs—along with potential gains in economic growth and job creation”, the report says.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.