Striking an assertive note, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on critics of the country’s sharp jump in the ‘ease of doing business’ ranking saying those who were once in the World Bank are now questioning the findings of the annual survey.
“Some people don’t understand the significance of India’s ranking going up to 100 from 142. They see no difference and this includes some of those who had once served in the World Bank. They are still raising doubts about India’s ranking,” said Modi here on Saturday.
“I am a Prime Minister who has not seen the World Bank building and earlier those who worked in the World Bank were ruling the country,” Modi said countering sceptics such as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who have questioned the improvement in India’s ranking. Several leading members of UPA had stints in the World Bank.
The PM was speaking at a function to celebrate the country’s significant improvement in World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ ranking. The 15th edition of the annual study that rates 190 countries on ease of starting and running businesses unveiled on Tuesday placed India at 100, 30 ranks higher than last year.
Speaking at the same function, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva termed India’s sharp jump in the ranking as “rare” in the survey’s 15-year history.
It is particularly rare when we talk about the size of India. I understand that in a cricket-loving nation, hitting a century is a very important milestone,” Georgieva said.
“If reforms such as insolvency code, bankruptcy code, commercial courts had happened during your tenure then India’s ranking would have improved earlier and you could have claimed credit for it and it would have helped change the state of the country. You did nothing and those who are reforming you are questioning them?” Modi said, adding that the survey was started in 2004 and everyone knows which party governed the country up to 2014.
Modi urged opposition parties not to criticise the dramatic improvement in India’s ranking and support the government in its efforts to take the country to greater heights and build a new India.
The PM said over the last three years the government has systemically and critically evaluated business regulations and tried to understand the pain points of businesses with regard to interface with the government.
“We engaged with businesses on a regular basis, understood their concerns and sought to modify regulation to address their concerns,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that with GST, India is moving towards a modern tax regime which is transparent, stable and predictable. He said nearly all issues raised by small and medium enterprises at the GST Council were being positively accepted.
Modi said the council in its next meeting, scheduled for October 9 and 10, will take steps necessary to make Indian business and the economy strong. He said there are many other reforms which have happened, but need gestation and stabilisation, before they are taken into account by the World Bank. There are a few other reforms where officials and the World Bank team need to find common ground.
“All this, combined with our conviction to do even better, gives me the confidence that India will occupy a place of pride in the World Bank report next year and in the years thereafter,” the PM said.