12 Dec 2018 21:44 IST

India still middling in ease of doing biz, says WEF Chief

Is in 58th position among 140 countries in WEF’s global competitiveness rankings

India is far from being perfect on global competitiveness and is saddled in the “middle class” of the rankings, World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said Wednesday.

“It’s far from being perfect. I also think the very important indicator is how long it takes to create a business; you have some places today where it takes half a day. India is still in the middle class here,” he added.

Schwab, who is in the financial capital ahead of the WEF’s annual meeting in the Swiss resort town of Davos, was replying to a question on how the country fares on the ease of doing business front.

The country has moved eight places to be at 58 among 140 countries in WEF’s global competitiveness rankings, while it has climbed sharply to 77th in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, from being 144th a few years ago.

Schwab said the country should work towards creating the necessary ecosystem to boost entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship ecosystem

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, he said most jobs in the future will be self generated and the country should have an education system that is future-ready.

“The education system has to be tailored to provide skills that we need tomorrow. The country also has to create the necessary ecosystem for all entrepreneurial activities,” he said.

Schwab highlighted that it will be smaller companies which will provide jobs in the future and, hence, it is absolutely essential to facilitate startups. He said it is important for young entrepreneurs to be able to create companies faster because the jobs of the future will not be created by large companies.

“It will be by young entrepreneurs who have the courage to create an enterprise,” he added.

He said that the future richness of a country will not only be measured by the potential of its young generation, but data will also be a key factor.

“India, which has begun getting digital information of its 1.3 billion population, has a special competitive advantage only matched by China,” said Schwab.

Potential powerhouse

Highlighting the need for more technological development, he said, the most innovative country will be the most competitive and ultimately the wealthiest and most powerful one in the future.

“India has to make efforts to keep up, particularly with the US and China,” he added. He said India will have to bring in an important message to ‘Davos 2019’, in a world which has many challenges, including polarisation.

“India represents the largest functioning democracy in the world and is one of the few countries which has a growth rate of over 7 per cent. It’s the fastest growing G-20 country.

“It has a history of successful reforms and I expect a strong presence from India (in Davos 2019). I hope India has a strong message despite the forthcoming elections,” he added.

WEF organises a meeting of the global elite of business, finance, and politics in Davos, Switzerland, in January every year.