India’s rise in ease of doing business rankings

India Business Forum
Organized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
My Speech
04-Nov-2017

It is a very special honour for me to be here to participate in the celebration of a significant accomplishment. Congratulations to everyone, especially the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), who has helped India reach the 100th rank in Ease of Doing Business!

Before I returned to India nine months ago, I served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of Commerce. An area of particular gratification for me was the elevated dialogue that both governments fostered in the area of commerce. In that dialog, the Ease of Doing Business was recognized as central to increasing business activity. CEOs of both countries noted the great importance of this measure.

Now, in my new role as Chairman and CEO of KPMG in India, it is a matter of special pride for me that my firm has been long associated with this National Priority Project and assisted the DIPP in their work on achieving the Ease of Doing Business goals.

This achievement must not be underrated. It was a mammoth collaborative effort between ministries, departments and state governments along with DIPP to get the reforms implemented, and we at KPMG were honoured to play a role in assisting this effort. This 30 point jump is a signal to investors that India can move forward to become an attractive investment and business destination. Some of the significant reforms recognised by the World Bank such as Resolving Insolvency, Enforcing Contracts and Paying Taxes will significantly enhance the investment climate in the country.

Indeed, Ease of Doing Business is fundamental for increasing foreign and domestic investment. There have been studies that show a correlation, over a five year period, between increase in FDI and improvements in Distance to Frontier to FDI.

The goal set by the Prime Minister and the focus on EODB fostered by DIPP have led to healthy competition amongst states for improving this important measure. I think this is a significant development. Further, I applaud the DIPP’s initiative in facilitating the sharing of EODB best practices among states.

Of course this is a journey, there is more to be done. For instance, in the area of starting a business, the focus will need to be on making all services, processes required for starting a business online through a single form. One country, one form. The time period of 29 days does not do justice to the Government focus on Digitization and a single identifier for individuals and business.

On registering property, the focus on digitization of land records and transaction histories needs to be aimed at providing conclusive titling. Further, encumbrances such as liens and mortgages need to be in an accessible searchable electronic database. This ideally should be implemented across the country.

Finally, trading across borders improvements call for online systems for custom and border procedures. Direct port delivery needs to be scaled up to 100% in a phased manner.

To conclude, our profound thanks are due to the senior officials and bureaucrats who have worked passionately to achieve this result.  As a former public servant myself and now as a representative of business and industry, I applaud their outstanding work.