The World Bank recently came out with its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report after suspending it in August 2020 due to what is referred to be several irregularities. In the reviewed Business Doing Report, the World Bank corrected two of its recent ease of doing business rankings, adjusting the scores for China and three other nations based on an internal audit.
In August 2020, the World Bank had announced that it would be suspending the publication of its Doing Business report following a number of irregularities regarding changes to data in previous reports.
“Many irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology,” a statement released by the World Bank said.
In its reviewed report which was released on 16 December 2020, the Bank said that in the 2018 report released in October 2017, China should have been shown dropping seven notches to 85th rather than remaining 78th. Besides China, the ratings of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were also downgraded, while Azerbaijan’s ranking saw an improvement.
India’s ranking, however, remained unaffected in the revised Ease of Doing Business report released by the World Bank.
Usual suspects raised aspersions on India’s ranking after World Bank paused its EODB 2021 report
However, soon after the World Bank had announced a temporary pause of its Doing Business report citing irregularities in data, many of the usual suspects in India had started alleging that the country’s ranking might take a beating after the World Bank’s declaration that it would review its data and come up with the new rankings. While some trashed the authenticity of the rankings to mount an attack on PM Modi, others resorted to insinuating that the Modi government had offered incorrect data to the World Bank that has resulted in an impressive improvement of India’s ranking on the Ease of Doing Business index.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had rubbished the ratings stating that PM Modi needlessly blustered about the indices that were rife with irregularities in data and methodology. In a bid to attack the Modi government, Ramesh alleged that the Centre wasted its time and effort in chasing a bogus ranking.
Mr.Modi was busy drumbeating India’s improvement in World Bank indices. Now the Bank has paused further publication of these rankings due to irregularities in data & methodology. So much energy of this Govt was wasted chasing a bogus ranking,while our MSMEs continued to languish! pic.twitter.com/kDDesNWRAR— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 28, 2020
Journalist Suhasini Haider had endorsed a report then which talked about how the Indian government had “lobbied, gamed changed priorities” to improve its ranking on the index from 2014 to 2018.
As the @WorldBank @WorldBankSAsia suspends its own Doing Business (EoDB) rankings due to rigged data issues, worth re-reading this investigation @HuffPost on how the govt lobbied, gamed, changed priorities in order to improve rankings here 2014-2018https://t.co/6qmL51r91L— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) August 28, 2020
Another so-called intellectual Rupa Subramanya went so far to claim that the improvement of India’s ranking on the Ease of Doing Business indices did not match the ground reality.
“A number of data irregularities have been reported in Doing Business 2018 and 2020 reports, published 2017 and 2019.” @WorldBank is suspending its EDB reports.Big news.These were reports where India jumped in the rankings that didn’t match ground reality. https://t.co/42f3aCXWa6— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) August 27, 2020
Similarly, The Hindu journalist Mahesh Langa had also expressed his cynicism at the World Bank revising the rankings, wondering if it would affect India’s ranking which saw a substantial improvement in the last few years.
Interesting development. Will India’s rank of EODB, which moved up substantially, be affected as the World Bank is auditing data irregularities & its methodology? Doing Business – Data Irregularities Statement https://t.co/8zK3SqS4vA via @WorldBank— Mahesh Langa (@LangaMahesh) August 27, 2020
Puja Mehra, another The Hindu journalist, questioned what would happen to India’s rankings after the corrections are carried out by the World Bank.
The publication of the Doing Business report paused by the World Bank after a number of irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data in the 2018 and 2020 reports. What will happen to India’s ranking after the corrections are carried out? https://t.co/2ROIk1EDAa— Puja Mehra (@pujamehra) August 27, 2020
The decision by World Bank to reassess the rankings of the nations provided an opportunity for many to raise aspersions on the authenticity of the data provided by the Indian government and allege that the Centre’s fixation with improving its stand on the Ease of Doing Business ranking might have prompted them to provide rigged data to the Bank. However, the unaffected ranking of India in the revised EODB rankings issued by the World Bank puts paid to the insinuations that the data provided by the Indian government was inflated or faulty.
It is pertinent to note that India has grown leaps and bounds in terms of its ranking on the Ease of Doing Business indices ever since PM Modi came to power in 2014. From languishing at 142 in 2014, India jumped 79 positions to 63 in the Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2020. India has recorded a continuous improvement in its ranking issued by the World Bank and well-poised on its ambitious goal of being among the top 50 economies on the ease of doing business ranking.