From Ease of Doing Business to Ease of Public Grievance Redressal in Bharat

Bharat’s ranking in Ease of Doing Business (EODB) marginally improved from 131 to 130 in 2016 but in 2017 it registered a significant jump from 130 to 100 out of 190 countries that have been ranked by the World Bank.

Bharat has introduced 37 reforms since 2003 (the year when the EODB was first launched by the World Bank) and incidentally nearly half of these 37 reforms have been implemented by Bharat since 2012. World Bank report says Bharat is one of the top 10 improvers in 2017 assessment on EODB (the report covers the period 2nd June, 2016 to 1st June, 2017) having implemented reforms in 8 out of 10 Ease of Doing Business indicators. Though the EODB report assessment on Bharat covers only two major cities – Delhi and Mumbai to measure the status of implementation of reforms, it is no doubt a broad indicator of how the reforms are by and large being implemented in Bharat. Bharat now aims to reach the top 50 position on EODB.

The 10 parametres that go into the measurement of EODB of World Bank rankings are –

  1. Starting business,
  2. Getting credit,
  3. Protecting minority investors,
  4. Paying taxes,
  5. Trading across borders,
  6. Enforcing contracts,
  7. Resolving insolvency,
  8. Labour market regulation,
  9. Getting electricity,
  10. Registering property.

EODB is considered as a proxy of the regulatory framework faced by the private sector in a country.

Bharat’s government under the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP), that comes under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has initiated measures to simplify and rationalize the regulatory processes to make governance more effective in 2014. A 340 point Business Reform Action Plan was introduced in October, 2015 for implementation by all states and UTs.

DIPP in association with World Bank has started ranking the states from 2016 on their performance in EODB. For the year 2017-18 the reform areas that have been identified for implementation by the states are –

  1. Registering property,
  2. Inspection enablers,
  3. Single window system,
  4. Land availability and allotment,
  5. Construction permit enablers,
  6. Environmental registration enablers,
  7. Obtaining utility permits,
  8. Paying taxes,
  9. Access to information and transparency enablers,
  10. Sector specific,
  11. Labour regulation enablers,
  12. Contract enforcement.

While Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have both bagged No. 1 position for the implementation of the Business Reform Action Plan-2016-17, these states have stood No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the recent EODB rankings announced for the year 2017-18 also. Haryana and Jharkhand have bagged No. 3 and No. 4 ranks relegating Gujarat to No. 5 position. Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan have obtained 6th to 9th ranks in that order.

All these nine states have reached the top achievers position by gaining an overall score of 95% and above in EODB. Six states have bagged the tag of achievers slot by gaining an overall score of 90- 95% in EODB. Three states have reached the slot of fast movers scoring 80-90%. Eighteen states have scored below 80% and managed to get the tag of aspirers.

The Business Reform Action Plan 2016-17 took actual data from the states while ranking the states on EODB whereas the Business Reform Action Plan 2017-18 went by not only taking the actual data from the states but also by feedback survey obtained from the private sector on their perception about the implementation of the reforms by the states.

Information Technology has played a vital role for the states in improving their rankings on EODB. Andhra Pradesh has launched CORE (CM Office Real-time Executive) Dashboard which enables the Chief Minister to personally oversee and monitor the functioning of 33 state government departments. This tool has proved to be very effective in bridging the gap between the government policies/ schemes/ programmes and implementation status thereby improving the positive perception among the investors by projecting the state as investor friendly and proactive.

Taking cue from the progress made by the states on EODB the central government can design a similar methodology to improve the country’s ranking in HDI (Human Development Index) where Bharat currently ranks 131, corruption perception index where it ranks 81 (among a group of 180 countries) and world happiness index where Bharat currently ranks 133 among 156 countries.

HDI is a composite statistical measure of life expectancy, education and per capita income of the people in a county whereas corruption perception index is an indicator on the level of corruption in the public sector organizations in a country. Happiness index is measured based on the evaluation of six factors – GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption.

In the same way state governments in Bharat can measure the level of good governance by designing a methodology to identify the functioning of public grievance redressal mechanism in various ministries and departments.

AP State has leveraged on CORE Dashboard technology and has established five grids – Fibre Grid, Water Grid, Gas Grid, Power Grid, and Road Grid. These 5 grids, 5 campaigns (Agriculture, Education, Health & Sanitation, Environment & Poverty Alleviation), 7 missions (Primary Mission, Social Empowerment Mission, Skill Development Mission, Service Sector Mission, Industry Mission, Infrastructure Mission and Urban Development Mission) collectively constitute e-pragati. The objective of e-pragati is to provide integrated services to the citizens and bring a transformation in the functioning of the government.

Niti Aayog in consultation with the states can design a standard methodology to measure the good governance across the states and give rankings accordingly. Needless to say this step will go a long way in bringing greater transparency and public accountability of the governments in Bharat.

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About the Author

B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex Senior Banker, Management and Financial Consultant, Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. E mail- [email protected]