J&K registers zero progress in Ease of Doing Business

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, July 10: Despite registering a significant improvement and climbing up nine positions last year in the ranking for Ease of Doing Business, Jammu and Kashmir has failed to show even a  slight progress in the latest grading,  apparently due  to non-performance on the part  of several key departments.
In the Ease of Doing Business State Ranking, jointly prepared by the World Bank and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Government of India, Jammu and Kashmir has been once again ranked low at 22nd position among 34 States and Union Territories in the country.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana have been ranked as top three States to do business in India, ahead of the industrialized State such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
The rankings serve as a check-list of sorts for evaluating State on a 340 point Business Reform Action Plan, between the period of July 2016 and July 2018. The final rankings were arrived at after a combination of  “Reform Evidence Score” and “Feedback Score”.
The States of Jharkhand and Telangana have scored 100 percent in their Reform Evidence Scores, which is allotted on the basis of 372 recommendations for reforms on regulatory processes, policies, practices and procedures spread across 12 reform areas.
The Jammu and Kashmir State could score only 36.47 percent and 6.41 percent  in the Reform Evidence Score and Feedback scorecard, respectively in the latest ranking.
In this year’s edition of rankings, DIPP carried out a comprehensive business-to government (B2G) feedback exercise, where feedback was taken from               businesses on the quality of implementation of the reforms claimed by the States.
The Jammu and Kashmir State, which had climbed up from 31s to 22nd position among Indian State in the Ease of Doing Business ranking last year, failed to register even a slight improvement in its latest status apparently due to non-performance on the part of several key departments, particularly PDD, Revenue, PHE, PWD and Forest Departments in giving necessary impetus to the Industries sector in the State.
Pertinent to mention here that Ease of Doing Business is an index published by the World Bank and it is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the East of Doing Business.  The ranking on the index is based on the average of 10 sub-indices, which include starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity, registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
While the Department of Industries and Commerce, Commercial Taxes Department, Labour Department,  Pollution Control Board, Drug Control Organization, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department implemented a  number of points assigned to them,  PDD,   Revenue, PHE, PWD and Forest Departments did not implemented reform action point thus stalling further improvement in the ranking, sources told the Excelsior.
Total 18 departments in J&K were set a target to bring in 372 reforms, of which only around 270 could be achieved, sources said adding that no provisional registration without land availability and no extra power bank were the major hurdles in ease of doing business in J&K.
The idea behind ranking States is to induce competition to attract investment and improve the business climate. In addition, these rankings indicate that the States have the potential to attract business and undertake various reforms that are being undertaken by the Centre.
The national capital Delhi’s score deteriorated to 33.99 percent, from 47 percent in 2016 and it stood at the 23rd spot in this year’s rankings. North-eastern States, except Assam continue to remain at the bottom of the heap, underlining the urgency of immediate policy interventions to turn these States into business-friendly destinations.