Attacking the Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hailed India’s 23 places jump in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings and said the country had come a long way from the UPA era when it was the most difficult country to do business with.
In a Facebook post, he said despite inheriting the legacy of 142nd position in the coveted rankings, the Narendra Modi-led government had undertaken a series of reforms achieving a 65-point improvement to reach the 77th rank during its first four years.
He said India would further improve its ranking by focusing on certain specific areas — including ‘starting a business’, ‘resolving insolvency’, ‘payment of taxes’ and ‘enforcement of contracts’ — and would have to make a special effort to achieve the Prime Minister’s target of breaking into the top-50 countries.
His remarks came a day after the World Bank’s latest Doing Business Report 2019 showed that various measures undertaken by the government had helped India improve its rank in six out of the ten parameters, helping it jump 23 places from its rank of 100 in the previous year.
The country had entered the top 100 last year with a bigger jump of 30 places.
“India, during the ten years of the UPA, witnessed high level of corruption, policy paralysis and abandonment of all reforms. UPA-II, in its five year tenure, witnessed a global ranking 134, 132, 132, 134 and finally 142.
“This was UPA’s miserable track record. India was the most difficult to do business with. Investors were wary of coming to India. On the contrary, there was a reverse flight of capital from India by the investors,” Jaitley wrote.
He said that Modi’s call in 2014 to appear among the first 50 nations in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ seemed to be a tall promise since India had to move up 92 positions and not many were optimistic and regarded it as “an unachievable goal”.
“Changes required legislation, regulation, policy decisions and administrative reforms. They involved technical innovations. Moving up 92 positions is a daunting task,” he said.
Jaitley added that the Modi government started working on each of the 10 criteria that are considered by the World Bank and moved up in the first two years to 130 before making a major jump of 30 positions to reach position 100 in the third year.
“And in the fourth year, we have moved to position no. 77. This is a 65 point improvement in the first four years. We are still 27 positions away from the target. The impossible now looks plausible,” he wrote.