New Delhi: Buoyed by a 23-place jump on World Bank's ease of doing business ranking, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday 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 news 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.
The BJP-led government, since coming to the power, has reduced red-tape and corruption, and its reforms have ensured India jumps ranks from 142 to 77, he said.
Improvements have already done on enforcement of contracts, taxation and insolvency laws and would be reflected in future rankings, he said.
Jaitley said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had soon after coming to power in 2014 set a target of breaking into top 50 and it seems probable if improvements are done on time taken to start business, registering property, enforcement of contracts, paying taxes and insolvency laws.
World Bank officials said while India was one of the top 10 performers, entering the top 50 bracket will be tough as the next set of reforms is difficult.
Achieving a ranking of 77 from 131 in two years is a "considerable improvement" for India, said Rita Ramalho, Senior Manager of the World Bank's Global Indicators Group.
But entering the top 50 ranking is very difficult, she said. "Actually, it is much harder, the closer you get to number one ranking. The better the rank, the harder it is to improve," she said.
As per the latest World Bank report, there are some areas where India is lagging far behind the global rankings, the officials pointed out. For instance, India is placed at 137th when it comes to starting a business. India takes 1,445 days on an average to resolve a commercial dispute. In high income economies, it is 582 days.
"This is something that has not changed. Probably one of the more challenging reforms in India is to get the judiciary on board to improve that part," Ramalho said.
India is also lagging behind when it comes to registration of properties where it is ranked 166 among 190 countries. "So, I think those are probably the ones that are pulling India down (the ranking) and are probably harder to actually solve," Ramalho said.
The average time to transfer properties in Mumbai is 80 days while in advanced countries the average time period is 20 days. Ramalho said such massive improvement in India's ranking in few years means that for a domestic entrepreneur now it is easier, less cumbersome to do business.
Ramalho said the new ranking is reflective of the reform announced in the previous years, but was implemented last year like the Goods and Services Tax (GST). "It's a multi-year reform process that we're seeing," she added.
"Part of the GST is counted in the report, but we would expect that they'll still be an improvement in their paying taxes indicator due to that. The full impact of the GST would only be felt next year," she said.