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India jumps 23 spots in Ease of Business index

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on November 05, 2018 with No Comments

• World Bank says reduced red tape helped it reach 77
• FM hopes to break into top 50
RTI Confirms Former RBI Chief Sent List of NPA Defaulters to Modi
Information disclosed in response to an RTI request made by a investigative website of India has confirmed that former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan indeed notified Narendra Modi of the need to probe key defaulters as early as eight months into his prime ministerial tenure – advice that the government failed to act upon. The Wire had filed an RTI application with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Finance Ministry and the RBI seeking information related to the claim Rajan has made in his note to the parliamentary committee that he had handed over a “a list of high profile fraud cases of non-performing assets to the Prime Minister’s Office for coordinated investigation.” At the time Rajan’s letter was made public, a section of the media had tried to suggest that the ‘PMO’ the former top banker was referring to was Manmohan Singh’s rather than Modi’s, since his term spanned both the UPA and NDA’s time in office.
Putting all speculation to rest, the RBI has said in response to The Wire‘s RTI query that Rajan’s letter to the PMO about the defaulters suspected of fraud was written on February 4, 2015. According to the RBI, Rajan sent this list not only to the PMO but to the officer of the finance minister, Arun Jaitley. On September 6, 2018, Rajan submitted a 17 page note on India’s NPA problem to parliament’s estimates committee at the request of its chair Murli Manohar Joshi. Though he mentioned asking the PMO to act against a list of major defaulters, his note did not make clear who the prime minister was at the time. Therefore, the estimates committee had said that to overcome any kind of confusion, it would ask Rajan to specify the date on which he had written to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Long known for its bureaucracy, India has made major strides in improving prospects for businesses in the country, the World Bank said in a report. India rose 23 places to 77th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index for 2019 — up from 100th in 2018 and 130th in 2017, when it was ranked lower than Iran and Uganda.
The two-year jump is the second largest for any country on the index, to the delight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as it prepares for an election due to be held by next May.Buoyed by the improved ranking, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India can crack into top 50 if it improves on time taken for registering real estate, starting business and enforcement of contracts. Addressing a conference soon after the World Bank released its 2019 ranking, Jaitley said areas that require improvement include time taken for registering property, starting business, insolvency and taxation, and enforcement of contract areas. He added that the BJP government has reduced red-tape and corruption, and its reforms have ensured India jumps ranks from 142 to 77.
India improved on six of the 10 metrics tracked by the World Bank, including obtaining credit and construction permits.
The average import into the country spent less than 100 hours being checked for compliance at the border, the World Bank said, down from more than 250 hours a year previously. India’s centrally planned economy in the years after independence was renowned for the complex system of permits required to run a business in the country, but in recent years, particularly since Modi was elected in 2014, the government has enticed foreign companies including Apple and Ikea to open factories and stores after years of delays.
A large share of the credit for the improved ranking also goes to the Mumbai civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal as it made major improvement in dealing with construction permit where India jumped right from last year’s 181 to 52.
The rankings only looked at Delhi and Mumbai to rank the whole country, so the BMC took a number of measures in the last year to bring down procedures — from 37 to 8 — and days required — from 128.5 to 60 — to grant construction permits.


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