Ranking for investment
The World Bank has finalised the ranking of Indian states on the “ease of doing business”. While Indian entrepreneurs by and large know how to get things done in the existing system, foreign companies proposing to set up shop in India often find it difficult to steer through the maze of rules and regulationS and, hurdles politicians and bureaucrats create for reasons not always justifiable. Foreign investors, who are easily put off by red tape, unpredictable taxes and corruption, may seek guidance from the World Bank ranking while selecting their investment destination. Its importance therefore is understandable. Given the foreigners' faith in the World Bank, the ranking will be embraced whole-heartedly, even if flawed or biased.
The states have been judged on the implementation of 98-reform measures, covered broadly under heads such as setting up a business, allotment of land and obtaining construction permit and complying with environment and labour regulations. The Bank appreciates the progress states have made on issues such as the online payment of taxes. Twenty-eight states have defined clear timelines for granting construction permits, 19 issue a single completion-cum-occupancy certificate and 16 have clear timelines for change-in-land-use approvals.
What may surprise some is the fact that Haryana ranks at 14, ahead of Delhi, and Punjab is placed at 16, far above Chandigarh, which is down the list at 24. Another finding that defies the general perception is of Odisha, where the POSCO project has been stalled by tribal protests for years, scoring over Maharashtra. Seen politically, the BJP-ruled states have scored over others. The top position is occupied by Gujarat. It seems social unrest, indicated by the 2002 riots and lately by the Patel reservation agitation, has not been factored in while picking Prime Minister Modi's state for the top slot. Andhra Pradesh ranks at number 2. The next four positions are held by Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. One would like to believe that the survey may have made mistakes, but is not politically motivated. Still, it should goad the laggard states to catch up with the progressive ones, otherwise lopsided development would be inevitable.