The World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business report has placed India at the 142nd position among 189 nations. Compared to the previous report, the country’s position has deteriorated by two points. True, during the interregnum, India has taken several steps to facilitate investment and investors now find it easier to set up and run business. If such improvements are not reflected in the report, it only means that other countries have taken better business-friendly steps. The Narendra Modi government has taken a series of steps to make India an attractive destination for investments. By introducing information technology-based reforms in the industrial and labour sectors, it has proved its earnestness of purpose.
Unless India moves into the first group of 50 countries in the ease of doing business report, it cannot claim to have achieved much progress. Modi considers his “Make in India” campaign a cornerstone of his industrial policy. India is in a unique position to attract investment because it is blessed with both raw materials and human resources. It exports minerals in large quantities to countries like Japan and China. It would be a better policy to stop such exports and have the raw materials used for manufacturing purposes. This will give a boost to the manufacturing sector, which is the least growing, and it will also increase employment opportunities. The resultant economic prosperity will also reduce social tensions.
The Centre’s keenness to simplify laws and procedures to draw investments, domestic and foreign, is not matched by similar enthusiasm from the states. States play a greater role in industrialisation than the Centre. The governments need to work in tandem to make the Centre’s industrial policy a success. It should not be difficult for both to identify the obstacles that prevent business houses from investing in India. They need to be removed so that India becomes an international hub of manufacturing. Also, the government should attend to the need to improve communication, power and other infrastructural facilities, which are prerequisites for attracting investments.