India is the only South Asian country to achieve this distinction two years in a row, and only nine other countries have accomplished this since 2011. As a result, the country significantly improved its global ranking in this area to 53, from 82 past year. On the other hand, it is still ranked low for enforcing contracts and paying taxes (90th in both categories).
Addressing the media on the back of India's rise in Ease of Doing Business, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lauded Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for cracking the code by which countries are ranked.
The most dramatic improvements were registered in the indicators related to "Construction Permits" and "Trading across Borders".
New Zealand tops the list of 190 countries, followed by Singapore, Denmark, and Hong Kong. Among the BRICS countries, Russian Federation and China were ranked higher. Pakistan is ranked 136 in the index that surveys 190 countries.
India's global rank in "getting credit" has improved to 22 this year. "Improvements already been brought about in the enforcement of contracts and taxation and insolvency will reflect in future rankings". Jaitley also said the impact of GST has not been entirely accounted for in the ranking due to an early cut off date.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu had hinted at big improvement in India's ranking in a press conference yesterday.More news: Federer wins 99th title at Swiss Indoors
Noting that the two economies with the largest populations - China and India - demonstrated "impressive reform agendas", the World Bank said India also focused on streamlining business processes. In addition, Djibouti and India are the only economies to make the 10 top most improved list for the second consecutive year.
India, it said, made starting a business easier by integrating multiple application forms into a general incorporation form.
Also, "India made paying taxes easier by replacing many indirect taxes with a single indirect tax, the GST, for the entire country".
The average import into the country spent less than 100 hours being checked for compliance at the border, the World Bank said, down from more than 250 hours a year previously. Further, India reduced the time and cost of export and import through various initiatives, including the implementation of electronic sealing of containers, the upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures, it said. "India streamlined the process of obtaining a building permit and made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit", the report said.
Last year, India had moved up 30 places to the 100th position. India's journey from 142 in 2014 to 77 in 2018 marks a significant improvement, stated Jaitley. India scored 137 in the starting a business category, 52 in dealing with construction permits, 24 in securing access to electricity, 166 in registering property, 22 in getting credit and 7 in protecting minority investors.