India is 40th Most Competitive Economy in the World: WEF
Coming down a notch from last year’s ranking, India is now the 40th most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index. The latest Global Competitiveness Report, released on Sept. 27, places Switzerland on top of the list of 137 economies.
The United States and Singapore come in at the second and third place, respectively, followed by the Netherlands (4th), Germany (5th), Hong Kong SAR (6th), Sweden (7th), United Kingdom (8th), Japan (9th) and Finland (10th). The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is prepared on the basis of country-level data covering 12 categories of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
India was at the 39th position last year. While the current ranking is one rung lower than last year’s, the two are not comparable because of a change in the methodology, the WEF notes. “India stabilizes this year after its big leap forward of the previous two years,” the report says.
The report added that India’s score has improved across most pillars of competitiveness, which include infrastructure (66th rank), higher education and training (75th) and technological readiness (107th). It reflects recent public investments in these areas.
India’s performance has also improved in ICT (information and communications technologies) indicators, especially the internet bandwidth per user, mobile phone and broadband subscriptions and internet access in schools. Improving the ICT infrastructure and use is the biggest challenge in South Asia as technology has stagnated in most of the region, according to the WEF.
India ranks higher than its neighbors, with Bhutan at No. 82 and Sri Lanka at the 85th spot, while Bangladesh and Pakistan are placed 99 and 115, respectively.
The WEF, however, notes that the private sector still considers corruption to be biggest problem for doing business in India. “A big concern for India is the disconnect between its innovative strength (29) and its technological readiness (up 3 to 107): as long as this gap remains large, India will not be able to fully leverage its technological strengths across the wider economy,” the report said.
According to WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey 2017, apart from corruption, the second hurdle is ‘access to financing’, followed by ‘tax rates’, ‘inadequate supply of infrastructure’, ‘poor work ethics in national labor force’ and ‘inadequately educated workforce’, among others.
Among the BRICS nations, China (27th) and Russia (38th) are placed above India. South Africa and Brazil are at the 61st and 80th spot, respectively.