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India ranks 131st in procedures, 110th in time taken to start business among 137 countries: WEF report

India's ranking among "competing" nations
By Rajiv Shah
Even as pointing out that India has slipped by one rank in the world competitive ranking from 39th last year to 40th this year, after massive upward swing over two previous years, the high-pofile Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) in its new report has found India's ranking extremely poor in providing business environment to investors.
Thus, the "Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18", ranks India 98th in intensity of local competition among 137 countries it analyses, 124th in total tax rate, 131st in number of procedures to start business, 110th in time taken to start business, 124th in trade tariffs, 118th in imports as percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), 104th in flexibility of wage determination, 129th in female participation in labour force, 111th in exports as percentage of GDP, and so on.
Taking into account India's poor social sector, suggesting, it comes in the way in creating robust competitive environment, the report ranks India 91st in health, even as revealing that the country ranks 109th in “business impact of tuberculosis”, and 113rd in “business impact of HIV/AIDS."
India's ranking over the years, in selected sectors
One of the world’s most high-profile elite clubs that seeks to “improve” the state of the world by “engaging” business, political, academic, and other leaders across the globe, WEF, however, does not give much significance to one point deceleration in India’s rating, which was 39th in 2016-17, saying it suggests India has “stabilized” after “its big leap forward of the previous two years”.
Even then, the report notices several “problem areas”, including corruption, access to financing, tax rates, inadequate supply of infrastructure, poor work ethic in national labour force, inadequately educated workforce, and so on. It underlines, “The private sector still considers corruption to be the most problematic factor for doing business in India.”
Among the several areas in which India has improved it's score, says the report, include infrastructure (66th, up two), higher education and training (75th, up six), and technological readiness (107th, up three)."
India's problematic areas on a scale of 12
Prepared by Prof Klaus Schwab, WEF editor, and Prof Xavier Sala-i-Martín of the Columbia University, who is chief advisor, the report states, while India, along with China and Indonesia, is “becoming a centre for innovation, "catching up with advanced economies”, there is still a need for “increasing the readiness of their people and firms to adopt new technology, which is necessary to widely spread innovation’s potential economic and societal benefits.”
WEF says, “Asian economies were less exposed to the global financial crisis, but they are facing new problems of their own”, underlining, “Amid a private-sector credit boom in India, the proportion of loans classed as non-performing went from 4 percent to 9 percent in two years.”
Among India's growing centres of innovations, the report says, "Three Indian locations appear in the top 100: Bengaluru at 43rd (with patent activity focused on computer technology), Mumbai at 95th, and Pune at 96th (both registering among the most patents in organic fine chemistry)." However, they are far behind Shenzen–Hong Kong, ranking 2nd place, and Beijing 7th, it adds.
The report further says that the level of technological readiness of individuals and firms in India, as in China and Indonesia, remains "relatively low", suggesting that the benefits of these innovative activities are "not widely shared" and "societal gains from innovation breakthroughs do not happen automatically: they need complementary efforts to ensure that more people and firms have the means to access and use new technologies."

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