India improves 5 points to emerge as 58th most competitive economy, largest improvement among G20 nations

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest global competitiveness report signals a positive upswing for India. India has ranked as the 58th most competitive economy globally with a marked jump of 5 places in just a year since 2017. This jump is the best among all the G20 nations.

The report states:

India ranks 58th (62.0) and has demonstrated sizeable improvements over the past year. Compared with the 2017 backcast edition, India is up five places, the largest gain among G20 economies. India is a remarkable example of a country that has been able to accelerate on the pathway to innovation (where it now ranks 31st, with a score of 53.8), due, particularly, to the quality of its research institutions. In spite of a high degree of entrepreneurship (61.1, 23rd), business dynamism is hampered by administrative hurdles. While Indian companies can access the 3rd largest market in the world (which translates into a perfect mark of 100.0 on the Market size pillar), the country would benefit from increased trade openness (136th) to drive productivity growth.

India has also ranked 8th in “quality of research institutions.” The Geneva-based WEF highly evaluates the country noting “a remarkable example of a country that has been able to accelerate on the pathway to innovation, due, particularly, to the quality of its research institutions.”

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The survey indicated that the ease of doing business in India has also improved. As per the Asian Nikkie Review, the cost of starting a business has come down and the time taken to start a business has shortened over the year. The report expects further improvements in India’s health sector which ranks 108th and skills sector which stands at 96th.

As far as innovation was concerned, the report states, “the top performers in the upper- and lower-middle-income brackets, such as China and India, are catching up with or even outperforming the average among high-income economies. China, for example, is already more advanced when it comes to investing in research and development sub-pillar than the average high-income economy, while India is not far behind and let down only by its less-efficient bureaucracy for business creation and insolvency. The catch-up process is reflected in the emergence of Chinese and Indian companies in technology-intensive sectors”.

Ranked 31st, the report states that India ‘punches significantly above its weight’ in terms of innovation capability and is an ‘outlier in the region’. The second best nation in terms of innovation capability in the region is Pakistan, following far behind at 75th. It also remarks that India remains the region’s main driving force.

The report has observed that if India can maintain its competitiveness performance it will promote higher and sustained levels of income in the future. China ranks 28th overall (score of 72.6), leading the BRICS economies ahead of the Russian Federation (65.6, 43rd), India (62.0, 58th), South Africa (60.8, 67th), and Brazil (59.5, 72nd).

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