Economies in South Asia region made further gains to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises with Afghanistan and India ranked as top improvers (Photo: SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images).
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In a push for India’s Narendra Modi-led government, the country climbed 23 slots to reach 77th position in the latest World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business rankings released on Wednesday (31).

Economies in South Asia region made further gains to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises with Afghanistan and India ranked as top improvers.

India, which is a top improver for a second consecutive year, implemented six reforms in the past year and advanced to 77th place in the global ranking. Afghanistan, with five reforms, moved up 16 spots to 167th place in the global rankings.

India is now South Asia’s top-ranked economy, said the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report released.

The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. The project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.

The reforms in India included streamlining the process of obtaining a building permit and improved building quality controls. The reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities covered by the Doing Business report.

Starting a Business was made easier through consolidation of multiple application forms and introduction of a Goods and Service Tax (GST) while getting electricity was made faster and cheaper. Other reforms in India included strengthening access to credit as well as making it easier and faster to pay taxes and trade across borders, the report added.

In the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business rankings, the top 10 economies are New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, which retain their first, second and third spots, respectively, for a second consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; United States; United Kingdom and FYR Macedonia.

Governments around the world set a new record in bureaucracy busting efforts for the domestic private sector, implementing 314 business reforms over the past year, the report said.