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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”