Hoping to push up India’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business, the government has set itself a deadline of December this year to identify and roll out more investor-friendly measures.

The focus this time, according to various sources, will be to look at medium-term measures such as regulatory clearances and legislative amendments that will boost India’s score on the Ease of Doing Business index, compiled by the World Bank.

“A number of steps have already been taken to boost India’s rankings and a lot of them were those that could be done immediately. The focus now will be on the next step forward, many of which may require more time,” said a person familiar with the development, adding that nodal ministries have been asked to work on this plan of action.

Sources said the Prime Minister’s Office is also regularly monitoring the progress on implementation of these measures and is also taking frequent updates in the monthly PRAGATI meetings.

Showing improvement

India had ranked 130 out of 189 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Report, 2016 moving up four notches from the recalculated rank of 134 in 2015. India’s rank has improved in ‘starting a business’, ‘dealing with construction permit’ and ‘getting electricity’ indicators.

However, it is much lower than Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious goal of notching up India’s rankings to the top 50 in the next two years. To this end, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in the Union Budget 2016-17 also announced a number of initiatives for ease of doing business, including IT-enabled government process, amendments to the Companies’ Act for an enabling environment for start-ups and registration of firms in a day.

He also announced the new bilateral investment treaties, liberalisation of foreign direct investment, as well as minor tax re-jigs for promoting ease of doing business for foreign as well as domestic investors. Official sources said that a big push to India’s rankings in the global survey will also come after the passage of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 that will make it easier for companies to wind up. This has been one of the key sticking points for India in the rankings “The Budget proposals will also be taken up for implementation at the earliest,” said a source.

According to an assessment by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, over 30 steps have been already taken by various ministries and departments to cut down on clearances and improve the business environment. Separately, States are also being assessed on implementation of reform measures.

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