Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Nov 2017 11:22:30

EASE of Doing Business, was one criterion that often made India look down for so many years. Despite all the tall talk of reforms, the concept did not actually flourish in India for the simple reason that the Government as a whole -- the decision-makers and the implementors -- did nothing to increase the sense of ease of doing business in the country. For the native Indians, that did not mean much as everybody had got used to navigating his or her way around official obstacles. But for the foreigners, things were difficult because there was little to cheer when it came to setting up business enterprise in the country. But the latest World Bank report has acknowledged India’s leap upward in the Ease-of-Doing-Business scale by 30 points and straight into the top-100 rankings. This travel up from 130th rank to the 100th position is a massive jump in just three years indicates how the Government made successful comprehensive improvement in overall environment in which decision-making and implementation are fast and fairly corruption-free. It is not without reason, therefore, that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley sounded so happy while announcing the progress the country has registered. 

There still could be people who would express dissatisfaction about even this progress, saying, in effect, that India should be among the top-10 countries. This wish is most welcome, and sooner or later India may reach that destination as well in due course of time. But the jump up by 30 points is certainly a significant development which should make every Indian happy. For, this jump signifies a better opportunity for the foreigners to launch their businesses in India, and better opportunity for the Indians to enjoy higher income-generation for the national economy. By any standard, thus, the rising of Indian rank into the top-100 list of Ease of Doing Business scale is one development which every Indian must welcome wholeheartedly.

There are several factors involved in the calibration of such a status. One of the most important factors is the eagerness with which the official machinery responds to the callers with intent of launching business in the land. This eagerness is not just restricted to words, but expands also to the promptness and alertness with which the official machinery moves once there is a proposal to launch an enterprise.

One example highlights this point well. When the Tatas announced their decision to withdraw their Nano car unit from West Bengal because of the inordinate delays at every step of the way and corruption, there was a message on the mobile phone of the iconic Mr. Ratan Tata, the then Chairman of Tata Sons, stating, in effect, “Welcome to Gujarat”, before the close of the press conference in which the announcement was made. The House of Tatas was surprised that in the next six days, the Government of Gujarat, then headed by Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, ensured that all allotments were officially confirmed and relevant documents handed over to the Tata representatives. Nobody in the Tatas is ever tired of talking about this ease and quickness in glowing terms.

There are several other factors as well, and the Government has tried quite successfully to address all those in the past three years. All that effort now is reflected in the World Bank report which now accepts India as a top-100 country on the Ease of Doing Business scale. This is a welcome development which also reminds the nation that much distance is still to be traversed. Of course, this is a slow process and progress does not become possible tomorrow morning. But the very promise that the jump of 30 points has brought is very rewarding.