J&K improves ease of doing business ranking, fails to feature among top 20

Zafar Choudhary. Updated: 7/11/2018 1:21:47 PM Front Page

JAMMU: Significantly improving its ranking in the ease of doing business, Jammu and Kashmir has yet to feature in top twenty states where some similarly placed hill states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been able to reach.

Andhra Pradesh has topped the government's ease of doing business index for states, ahead of the industrialized states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. In the immediate neighborhood of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh stands at number 16 while Punjab has slipped down to number 20. A hill state with almost similar geographical features as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand has showed an impressive ranking of 11.

On the scorecard of reforms evidence, Jammu and Kashmir achieves 36.47 percent and on feedback scorecard 6.41 percent. The overall ranking has been done on a parameter of 128 entries. The final rankings were arrived at after a combination of "reform evidence score" and "feedback score".

The "reform evidence score" is allotted on the basis of 372 recommendations for reforms on regulatory processes, policies, practices and procedures spread across 12 reform areas. While Uttar Pradesh has made a significant improvement by featuring among top 15 states -at rank 12 -the states ranked below Jammu and Kashmir are all northeastern and Union Territories including the NCT of Delhi. In 2007, the only states that performed worst than Jammu and Kashmir were Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and four northeastern states viz Meghalaya, Sikkim, Assam and Tripura. In this year's edition of rankings, DIPP carried out a comprehensive business-to-government (B2G) feedback exercise, where feedback was taken from businesses on the quality of implementation of the reforms claimed by the states. The topping southern state was followed by Telangana and Haryana which grabbed the second and third spots respectively, according to the third edition of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion's (DIPP's) Business Reforms Action Plan, 2017. In the latest ranking of ease of doing business, which was released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir features at rank 22 which is a significant improvement over the state's last year's ranking at number 30. However, in terms which states have improved their rankings and which ones have gone below Jammu and Kashmir the record is not impressive. The highlights were the states of Jharkhand and Telangana who scored a 100.00% score in their reform evidence scores. Jharkhand, which is home to several steel plants as well as coal and iron ore mines, clocked 100 percent in the "reform evidence scorecard," Telangana dropped to the second spot after topping the rankings last year. The idea behind ranking states is to induce competition to attract investment and improve the business climate. In addition, these rankings indicate that the states have the potential to attract business and undertake various reforms that are being undertaken by the Centre.

In 2016, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh jointly emerged as number one states to do business, ahead of Gujarat - Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state - that was number one in 2015. The report has thrown up surprising results with Maharashtra, often touted as India's most industrialised state - led by the bustling financial capital of Mumbai - ranked 13th with a reform evidence score of 97.29 percent and a "feedback score" of 50.29%. Similarly, despite being an industrial hub, the southernmost state Tamil Nadu clocked 15th rank, with a "reform evidence score" of 95.93 percent and a feedback score of 43.90%. Both the states were listed as achievers in the ranking. The national capital Delhi's score deteriorated to 33.99 percent, from 47 percent in 2016 and it stood at the 23rd spot in this year's rankings. North-eastern states except Assam continue to remain at the bottom of the heap, underlining the urgency of immediate policy interventions to turn these states into business-friendly destinations. Jammu and Kashmir has, at least, come of the northeast bracket. The rankings, jointly prepared by the World Bank and DIPP, serve as a check-list of sorts for evaluating states on a 340-point Business Reform Action Plan, between the period of July, 2016 and July, 2018.

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