Government of India shows renewed commitment to improving the Ease of Doing Business

By Surbhi Mathur, Kealan Finnegan

At a meeting in Delhi last week with UKIBC members and our Group CEO, Richard Heald, the DPIIT Secretary Dr Mohapatra showed a determination and ambition to take India into the top 10 of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.

The meeting was arranged for our members to discuss with the Government of India the UKIBC’s 5th annual Doing Business in India Report, which was based on extensive consultation with 133 UK businesses and higher education institutions.

While the report highlighted a range of positives, including the headline that 56% of investors said that it is getting easier to do business in India, Secretary Mohapatra wanted to focus on the 23% of businesses that said that it was not getting easier to operate in India.

This, felt the Secretary, was so that he and his team can better understand the businesses’ pain points, which will be essential for the Government to go beyond the previously stated goal of getting into the World Bank’s top 50 ranking by 2020 by reaching the top 25 and then the top 10 of the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.

Mr Mohapatra also set-out the Government’s plan to extend the business reforms action plan to more Union Territories to drive improvement throughout India.

The UKIBC members at the meeting discussed a range of ideas to make it easier to operate across India, including the simplification of regulatory processes which often require multiple clearances across states, multiple ministries and government bodies. Companies also: urged the further roll-out of e-governance measures; suggested how the new data protection laws can stimulate more trade and investment for India; recommended reform of the telecommunication sector; and proposed reducing the level of red tape when interacting with the excise and customs department.

Building on his request to engage with the 23% of UK businesses with negative perceptions, the Secretary asked the UKIBC to convene sector-focused meetings to explore the issues raised during the discussion, starting with Food and Drink, and aerospace and defence.

The most encouraging aspects of the meeting were the openness within Government that there is still much to do on the ease of doing business, and the constructive dialogue between government and business.

With this approach and determination, much can be achieved.


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