New Delhi, November 4, 2017

GST, some other reforms to further improve India’s `Ease of Doing Business’ rank next year

If no State government creates trouble, further steps will be taken to address problems faced by business and traders in the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the forthcoming meeting of the GST Council in Guwahati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

Speaking at a presentation on ‘India’s Business Reforms’ also attended by World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday, the PM said that the positive fall-outs of GST and other reforms that did not get reflected in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking this year will result in further improvement in India’s position. “All such reforms (like GST) combined with our conviction of doing better gives me confidence that India will occupy place of pride in the World Bank’s report next year and the year after,” Modi said.

India’s ranking in the World Bank ease of doing business survey for 2018 improved 30 spots to 100 of a total of 190 countries in recognition of regulatory and policy reforms put in place by the country in ten areas such as getting credit, paying taxes, resolving insolvency, investors protection and starting a business.

Complimenting India for its jump in performance, Georgieva cautioned that the road ahead would be tougher and India needs to concentrate on areas where there is scope of improvement such as granting of construction permits, registration of property and enforcing contracts. “The higher you go, the tougher it is to move higher,” the World Bank CEO said adding that the Bank will give all possible help to India to improve its performance.

Georgieva said that the GST was a wonderful opportunity for India to grow through a unified market, just like the European Union. The PM said that the government, through the GST Council, had taken a number of steps to ease implementation concerns of businesses and traders and the next meeting too would take further measures if all States supported the endeavour.

Trade bodies will interact with GST Council members on the nitty-gritty of the tax regime in a meeting scheduled in Guwahati on November 9-10.

The PM said that the improvement in ease of doing business also showed that the lives of citizens had become better.

Taking on the Congress which questioned the government’s assertion that the increase in ranking reflected progress on ground, Modi said that the critics had not done anything to make things better and were now asking questions when improvements were taking place. “The ease of doing business ranking started in 2004. Till 2014 you know who’s government was there,” the PM said. India’s ranking in the World Bank index was 142 in the year 2014-15.

[The Hindu Business Line]