India jumped 16 places for the second year in a row to the 39th rank on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2016-17. It was ranked 55th in 2015-16. This is the largest gain made by any country on the list. Switzerland was ranked the most competitive country for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Singapore, the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. The rankings measure countries’ performance on three indicators — basic requirements, efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication factor. Performance on these in turn is measured through sub-indicators. “Thanks to improved monetary and fiscal policies, as well as lower oil prices, the Indian economy has stabilised and now boasts the highest growth among G20 countries. Recent reform efforts have concentrated on improving public institutions (up 16), opening the economy to foreign investors and international trade (up four), and increasing transparency in the financial system (up 15),” said the report.
On infrastructure, the country’s ranking improved from 81st last year to 68th, with progress seen in the overall quality of infrastructure, roads, railways, port and electricity supply. However, despite this, the “Lack of infrastructure (68th) and ICT use (120th) remain bottlenecks. Improvement has been slow in recent years and further investment will be necessary, especially to connect rural areas and make sure they can equally benefit from and contribute to the country’s development,” it added.
Notwithstanding the 16 place jump, the WEF report says “a lot needs to be done. The labour market is segmented between workers protected by rigid regulations and centralised wage determination (112th), especially in the manufacturing sector, and millions of unprotected and informal workers.”