India jumps 23 places to 77th in ease of doing business ranking

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Malaysia advanced nine places to 15th spot among 190 economies worldwide in the World Bank Doing Business 2019 Report based on business regulations and ease of doing business.

"The diversity among the top improvers shows that economies of all sizes and income levels, and even those in conflict can advance the business climate for domestic small- and medium-enterprises", said Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank's senior director for development economics, and acting chief economist.

The improvement was mainly helped by reforms in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, access to credit, paying taxes and trading across borders.

The Philippines' ease of doing business overall score actually improved to 57.68 this year from 56.32 last year, as there were three reforms introduced, from two reforms the previous year.

All four economies improved in the area of getting electricity and passed reforms simplifying the process of trading across borders, it said. As per the report, Pakistan has reduced the number of procedures, days and cost of starting a business and witnessed its biggest jump in the area in over a decade. Last year India was ranked 100 in the list.

The report measures progress of economic reforms in only two cities including Delhi and Mumbai. The areas include time taken for registering a property, starting a business, insolvency and taxation, and enforcement of contract areas.

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"For example, resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court in Turkey costs 25 percent of the claim value, compared to the regional average of 26.3 percent", the bank said.

"I believe it is entirely possible for the country to transform the regulatory environment and create a more competitive business environment, however, this improvement needs to be sustained and accelerated". Among South Asian countries, it is now easiest to do business in India.

And, importing and exporting was made more efficient for a third consecutive year. The Bank says in the report that the country has made great strides in registration of property, protecting minority investors and cutting time spent on filing tax returns. This year, the region hosts an economy in the global top 20 grouping, with the UAE's maiden entry in 11th place and one top improver, Djibouti.

Despite depressed credit that has gripped the market since 2016, Kenya moved from position 29 to eight in getting credit metric, courtesy of introducing law on secured transactions that created a unified legal framework.

"As a result, the time for a business to register a property transfer has now been reduced to 49 days, from 61 days", the report noted.

A major highlight of the report was that 32 out of 36 states recorded improvements in their ease of doing business scores, recognising that states are increasingly working towards removing the constraints faced by businesses.

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