Skip to main content

Economic freedom: India ranks worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, says US conservative thinktank

India's labour freedom, as seen by Heritage Foundation
By Our Representative
In a major setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claimed successes in opening Indian market for foreign investors, the world’s foremost conservative political think tank, Heritage Foundation, has ranked India 143rd in economic freedom index, worse than Pakistan (141st), Bangladesh (128th), Nepal (125th), and Sri Lanka (112th).
Based in Washington DC, Heritage Foundation, in its latest report titled “2017: Index of Economic Freedom”, has found that, among the comparable countries which form BRICS, Brazil ranks 140th, Russia 114th, China 111th, and South Africa 81st -- all better than India.
Interestingly, the Heritage Foundation’s 2016 economic freedom report ranks India 123rd, suggesting India has slipped by a whopping 20 points in just one year.
The report calls India a “significant force in world trade”, but insists, “Corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poor management of public finance continue to undermine overall development” of the country despite the fact that “the economy has sustained an average annual growth rate of about 7 percent over the past five years.”
“Growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom”, the report believes, adding, “Progress on market-oriented reforms has been uneven.”
The report regrets, “The state maintains an extensive presence in many areas through public-sector enterprises”, adding, “A restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment discourages the entrepreneurship that could provide broader private-sector growth.”
The report underlines, “State-owned enterprises distort the economy. Despite some liberalization and modernization, state-owned institutions dominate the banking sector and capital markets.”
Yet, the report calls India is “a stable democracy”, and praises Modi for “reinvigorating India’s foreign policy”, bolstering “ties with the US, particularly in defense cooperation.”
But it does not fail to mention that “India has technology and manufacturing sectors as advanced as any in the world as well as traditional sectors characteristic of a lesser developed economy”, adding, “Extreme wealth and poverty coexist as the nation both modernizes rapidly and struggles to find paths to inclusive development for its large and diverse population.”
The report further says, “Real property rights are generally well enforced in metropolitan areas, although titling remains unclear in many other urban and rural areas”, adding, “The judiciary is independent, but courts are understaffed and lack the technology necessary to clear an enormous backlog.”
The report says, it is “domestic and international pressure” alone which led to the “passage of legislation aimed at addressing corruption”, but adds, “There is little evidence that it is being implemented effectively.”
Suggesting that the taxes are high, the report emphasises, “The top individual income tax rate is 30.9 percent (including an education tax). The top corporate tax rate is 34.6 percent. The overall tax burden equals 16.6 percent of total domestic income.”
It adds, “Government spending has amounted to 27.4 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 7.3 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 67.2 percent of GDP.”
“The regulatory framework is burdensome, and the legal framework is weak”, the report states, adding, “Labour regulations continue to evolve, and the informal economy is an important source of employment.”
The report is critical of the Government of India depending heavily of subsidies, saying, “Although the IMF reported in 2016 that India’s ‘major subsidies’ (e.g., on fuels and fertilizer) dropped below 2 percent of GDP, the government is introducing a new basic foods subsidy for around two-thirds of the population.”

Comments

C S JACOB said…
One needs to know the parameters based on which the ranking was done. The drop in the index from 2014 is too steep which is difficult to accept.

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.